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Title Chiswick House Gardens: A view of the Bagnio and Grand Allees
Alternative Title View of Chiswick House Gardens with the Bagnio and Domed Building
Collection English Heritage (Chiswick House)
Artist Rysbrack, Pieter Andreas (Flemish painter, ca. 1684-1748)
Date Earliest about 1729
Date Latest about 1731
Description This view of the gardens at Chiswick is one of a set of eight, of which five are now at Chiswick House; originally they belonged to Lady Elisabeth Boyle, the sister of Lord Burlington who commissioned the pictures and designed this important Neo-Palladian house and ideated its Italianate gardens. The painting is by Pieter Andreas Rysbrack (1690-1748) the elder brother of the better-known sculptor John Michael. Pieter Andreas was born in Antwerp and came to England in 1720; by 1729 he had entered Lord Burlington's circle. Rysbrack's importance results from his documentation of English gardens, which, as in this painting, he innovatively depicted from different angles, revealing both the scenographic and topographical variety of the site as well as showing the activities of gardeners and 'polite society' in the landscape. Rysbrack was the first in England to undertake such portraits of gardens, which later in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gained considerable popularity with the rise of the picturesque movement. Among his followers are Roque and Rigaud who also both worked at Chiswick. This painting can be accurately dated to about 1729-31 on the grounds of architectural and landscape evidence: it shows the first phase of Lord Burlington's remodelling of the grounds at Chiswick, before William Kent's interventions of the 1730s. Horace Walpole was later to comment of the gardens at Chiswick that their scenery was 'worth more than many fragments of ancient grandeur'. The Domed Building on the right was built by Gibbs from 1716 and demolished in 1784; the Bagnio in the centre was made to Lord Burlington's designs from 1717 and demolished in 1778, the lead statue on the left of Cain and Able, now identified as Sampson slaying the Philistine was removed to Chatsworth.
Current Accession Number 88003191
Subject landscape (Chiswick House gardens); buildings and gardens
Measurements 61 x 107 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased by English Heritage 1996.
Provenance Presumably Lord Burlington's sister, Lady Elisabeth Boyle who married Sir Henry Bedingfield, 3rd Bt.; then by descent in the Bedingfield family at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk until sold 1952; Christie's, London, 3 July 1996, lot 30.
Publications Harris, J., The Artist and the Country House, 1979 p. 183, no. 187f; Fleming, L. and Gore, A., The English Garden, 1980; Sicca, C. M., 'Lord Burlington at Chiswick: Architecture and Landscape', Garden History, 1982, X, no. 1, pp. 55; Harris, J., The Palladian Revival: Lord Burlington, His Villa and Garden at Chiswick, 1994.
Notes A second, incomplete set of five of the eight views of Chiswick by Rysbrack is at Chatsworth (catalogued in John Harris' The Artist and the Country House, 1979 p. 183, nos. 187a, c, d, f, g).
Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author Francesco Nevola



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