Overview

No overview available.

Inscription

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Painted for Josiah Wedgwood [1730-1795], Etruria, Staffordshire.[1] John Greaves [b. 1793], Irlam Hall, near Manchester, by 1831.[2] Charles Meigh, Grove House, Shelton, Staffordshire; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 21-22 June 1850, 1st day, no. 108, bought in); (Anon. [Meigh] sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, 18 June 1859, no. 202); purchased by John Bentley, Esq. [1797-1879], Birch House, near Bolton, Lancashire, and Portland Place, London; his estate; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 15 May 1886, no. 72); purchased by (McLean).[3] William Bemrose;[4] by descent to Colonel W. Wright-Bemrose, Littleover Hill, Derby. A. Ralph Robotham, The White House, Darley Abbey, Derby, by 1947;[5] sold to (Gooden & Fox, Ltd., London); purchased August 1962 by Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia; gift 1983 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1785
Pictures, Painted by J. Wright, of Derby, Robins, London, 1785, no. 13.
1831
Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch and English Masters, Royal Manchester Institution, 1831, no. 130.
1910
Paintings by Wright of Derby 1734-1797, Graves Galleries, 1910, no. 93.
1934
Bicentenary Exhibition of Paintings by Joseph Wright, Corporation Art Gallery, Derby 1934, no. 35.
1947
Joseph Wright of Derby 1734-1797, Derby Museums and Art Gallery; Leicester Museums and Art Gallery, 1947, no. 37
1958
Joseph Wright of Derby, Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1958, no. 25, pl. xi.
1963
Painting in England 1700-1850: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1963, no. 372, repro. pl. 221.
1964
Painting in England 1700-1850: from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1964-1965, no. 235.
1969
Joseph Wright of Derby: A Selection of Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1969-1970, no. 10, repro.
1986
Gifts to the Nation: Selected Acquisitions from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1986, unnumbered checklist, repro.
1988
Pintura Británica de Hogarth a Turner, organized by the British Council, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1988-1989, no. 34, color repro.
1990
Joseph Wright of Derby, Tate Gallery, London; Grand Palais, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1990, no. 69, color repro.
1999
An Enduring Legacy: Masterpieces from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1999-2000, no cat.
2009
La Sombra [Shadows], Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2009, no. 2, repro.
2010
L'Antiquité rêvée. Innovations et résistances au XVIIIe siècle [Antiquity Revived. Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century], Musée du Louvre, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2010-2011, fig. 178 (French cat.), no. 90 (English cat.), repros. (shown only in Houston).

Bibliography

1957
Rosenblum, Robert. "The Origin of Painting: A Problem in the Iconography of Romantic Classicism." The Art Bulletin 39, no. 4 (December 1957): 284-285, fig. 5.
1966
Irwin, David. English Neoclassical Art. London, 1966: 79-80, pl. 92.
1968
Nicolson, Benedict. Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of Light. 2 vols. London, 1968: 1:16, 64-65, 143, 149, 243, no. 224; 2:pl. 245.
1970
Wark, Robert. Review of Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of Light by Benedict Nicolson. In The Art Quarterly 33 (1970): 72.
1971
Cummings, Frederick. "Joseph Wright at the National Gallery." The Art Quarterly 34 (1971): 478, 481.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 424, no. 590, colo repro., as by Joseph Wright of Derby.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 439, repro.
1992
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 344-350, repro. 347.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 284-285, no. 231, color repro.

Technical Summary

The canvas appears to be finely twill woven; it has been lined, probably at the time it was sold to Paul Mellon. The ground is white, of moderate thickness. The painting is executed thinly, smoothly, and precisely, with drier, thicker highlights. There are slight pentimenti in the female figure: the upright fingers of her left hand were originally placed about 1 cm. to the right, and her right hand was further to the left; vague forms below her arms and around her profile suggest that there were also slight changes in these areas. The paint surface is slightly abraded, and has been flattened during lining. There are several large areas of discolored retouching. The thick synthetic resin varnish has discolored slightly.

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