Richard WilsonLake Avernus date not known

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Artwork details

Richard Wilson (1713‑1782)
Lake Avernus
Date date not known
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 229 x 292 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Richard and Catherine Garnons 1854
Not on display


Richard Wilson visited Lake Avernus to the north of Naples in 1752 and again in the spring of 1753 with his patron William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801). As a result of these visits he painted two pictures of the area, the present view of Lake Avernus and Lake Avernus and the Island of Capri (Tate N00304). Wilson, his pupils and copyists replicated both subjects on numerous occasions.

Lake Avernus lies in a volcanic region on the south-west coast of Italy, between Naples and Cumae. According to classical mythology the area, known as the Phlegraean Fields ('burning fields'), was associated with the Infernal Regions. Because of its location among dark, gloomy woods, and its reputed depth, Avernus was supposed to have been an entrance to the underworld… (read more)

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