- Joseph Wright of Derby 1734–1797
- Graphite and watercolour on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
- Support: 242 x 348 mm
- Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Wright sailed for Rome in November 1773. His trip was possibly inspired by a similar tour undertaken by his teacher, the portraitist Thomas Hudson (1701-79) in 1752. Briefly stopping en-route in Nice in December, Wright made several picturesque sketches of the surrounding countryside. These pre-figure his later Italian landscapes and reveal his refined touch. This drawing, in particular, is rich in minute topographical detail. However, its design recalls Wright''s treatment of a single portrait subject, the castle ruin and the diagonal of the hill-slope anchoring the composition like a seated figure.
Gallery label, August 2004