William Pars

A Bridge on the River Ticino, near Polleggio


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
William Pars 1742–1782
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 243 × 337 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

Like many of the landscape draughtmen of his day, Pars was chiefly dependent for his livelihood on aristocratic patronage and on the demand for careful records of antiquarian and topographical subjects. This watercolour documents a site he saw on a tour through Switzerland in 1770 with his patron Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston. Pars brings to the best of his work a degree of expressiveness which is unusual for works of topography at this date. Here, by boldly raising the arch of the stone bridge against the sky, he has produced a very daring composition, and he has coloured it very vividly in strong greens and yellows. Palmerston has inscribed the word 'marvellous' on the mount.

Gallery label, September 2004

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