attributed to Richard Wilson

Lake, Ruin and Pine Trees


Image released under

License this image

Not on display

Attributed to Richard Wilson 1713–1782
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 686 × 889 mm
frame: 920 × 1110 × 100 mm
Bequeathed by Lady Sassoon 1956

Display caption

The motif of the temple by a lake recurs throughout Wilson's work as an image of Arcadian tranquillity. Temples were often used in this way in the landscaped parks of wealthy British aristocrats.

The lake shown here may be one of the mysterious volcanic lakes near Rome, such as Lake Nemi, known since antiquity as 'Diana's Mirror' because of its glassy smooth surface. Another possibility is Lake Avernus, near Naples, believed by the ancient Romans to be the entrance to the Underworld. The ruin evokes ancient Roman civilisation, while the still waters encourage quiet contemplation of Italy in the present.

Gallery label, September 2002

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

You might like

In the shop