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William Pars, 1742–1782, British

A View of Rome Taken from the Pincio

Watercolor, pen and gray ink, graphite and black crayon on moderately thick, moderately textured, blued white laid paper mounted on thick, moderately textured, cream wove paper
Mount: 17 15/16 x 24 1/8 inches (45.5 x 61.3 cm), Sheet: 15 1/16 x 21 1/8 inches (38.3 x 53.6 cm), and Image: 15 1/16 x 21 1/8 inches (38.3 x 53.6 cm)

Inscribed on verso in graphite, upper right: "Cavallo at a distance."

not lettered

Watermarked, center on back (when read correct way around), written vertically downwards: "J HONIG | & | ZOONEN"

Signed and dated in pen and black ink, lower left: "WPars, Rome 1776."

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
archways | bell towers | buildings | chimneys | churches | cityscape | figures | Grand Tour | hill | palazzo | patio | piazzas | pine | roofs | stairs | steps | terrace | terracotta | towers | trees | windows
Associated Places:
Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti | Europe | Italy | Lazio | Monte Pincio | Palazzo del Quirinale | Roma | Rome | Spanish Steps
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
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According to Thomas Jones, Pars took advantage of the study grant offered by the Society of Dilettanti to escape England in the company of the wife of the miniaturist Samuel Smart, with whom he was having an affair. They arrived in Rome on 25 December 1775 and took lodgings near the Via del Babuino. His companion died of consumption in 1778; Pars died four years later as the result of having caught cold while sketching at Tivoli. Pars’s watercolor, painted early in his stay in the city, shows the view from the Pincian Hill, not far from his lodgings, looking toward the church of Trinità dei Monti and the top of the Spanish Steps. Rising behind is the Palazzo del Quirinale, the papal summer residence. It was in the streets around the Piazza di Spagna that British artists and indeed many visiting artists from across northern Europe congregated. Pars masterfully gradates his watercolor tones not only to establish distance but to give an almost palpable sense of the heat and haze hanging over the city and the shimmer of sunlight on the tiled rooftops.

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 264, no. 49, pl. 49, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, no. 182, April 1977, pp. 272-3, fig. 10, N5220 M552 A7 1977 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Published as April 1977 issue of Apollo; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 105:2 +]

Graham Reynolds, English Landscape 1630-1850, Apollo, vol.105, no. 182, April 1977, pp. 272-3, fig. 10, N1 A54 105:2 + (YCBA) Another copy of this article may be found in a separately bound and catalogued copy of this issue located on the Mellon Shelf [call number : N5220 M552 A7 1977 + (YCBA)]

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