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 Italian School , Capriccio of a Harbour

Core Record

Title Capriccio of a Harbour
Alternative Title View of a Harbour
Collection Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Artist Italian School
Date Earliest possibly about 1760
Date Latest possibly about 1800
Description To the left a populous piazza is bounded by a monumental Baroque archway, at the centre is a busy harbour, and a mountain dominates the background. The scene, with its fantastical architecture and improbable juxtaposition of sea and mountain, is a capriccio conjured from the artist's imagination. As a production of the imagination, the capriccio was sometimes considered a superior genre to more topographically accurate view painting. Particularly associated with Italian artists, the capriccio reached the height of its popularity in the later eighteenth century.
Current Accession Number TRURI:1947.30
Subject marine; townscape; figure
Measurements 31.5 x 79 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Mr A. A. de Pass 1947.

Inscribed on stretcher, pencil: 'No. 2 Over Left ...; / Drawing Room'; label affixed to side of frame: '27'; inscribed on stretcher, chalk: '77V' [;].

Alfred A. de Pass (1861-1953) was born in South Africa, where his father and grandfather had established a business empire which included interests in shipping, guano, copper mining and sugar farming. After retiring from the family firm at age 36, Alfred pursued his interest in art collecting. For a period he lived in Cornwall, where he took an active interest in the Truro museum, then called the Royal Institution of Cornwall. In 1917 he was elected Associate of the Institution and in 1920 became its Vice-President. His gifts to the museum between 1914 and 1947 included many works of Western European fine and decorative art, including an important collection of old master drawings, as well as Oriental paintings, ceramics, metal work and textiles. For a list of Mr de Pass' donations of Western European paintings and drawings to the Truro museum up to 1936 see G. Penrose (cited below). He also donated to a number of other museums, including the National Gallery, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam, and the South African National Gallery.

Biographies and discussion of Mr de Pass' interests and donations may be found in: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The De Pass Collection: Paintings, Furniture, Ceramics etc., Illustrated Catalogue, Bristol, 1936; Popham, A.E., An Exhibition of Drawing from the Alfred A. de Pass Collection belonging to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, London, 1957; Walker, R., The De Pass Family, unpublished dissertation, Bristol Polytechnic, 1979; Price, B.D., Biographical Notes on Alfred Aaron De Pass (1861-1952) Art Benefactor Extraordinary, Falmouth, 1982; Nail, N., ‘The Cornish curator and the cosmopolitan collector: a note on George Penrose, 1876-1951, and Alfred de Pass, 1861-1953', Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1993, New Series II, I, 3, pp. 277-89; Berriman, H., ‘Introduction' in M. Joannides, Exhibition Catalogue of Master Drawing from the De Pass Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, London, 1994, pp. 7-11; Tietze, A., The Alfred de Pass Presentation to the South African National Gallery, exhibition catalogue, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, 1995; Irvine, G., and T. Daniel, Japanese Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall, 2001.

Rights Owner Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Author Dr Susan Steer



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