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George Augustus Wallis, View of the Roman Campagna

Key facts
Full title View of the Roman Campagna
Artist George Augustus Wallis
Artist dates 1761 - 1847
Date made 1794-1806
Medium and support Oil on paper laid down on canvas
Dimensions 14 × 23.1 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Lishawa family, 2018
Inventory number NG6675
Location Room 42
Collection Main Collection
View of the Roman Campagna
George Augustus Wallis

In 1788, one of George Augustus Wallis’s many patrons, Lord Warwick, financed a trip to Italy. Around that year he arrived in Naples, where he stayed for a number of years, before moving to Rome in 1795. He was nicknamed ‘le Poussin anglais’ by his fellow English artists, and his future son-in-law, the neo-classical painter Gottlieb Schick (1776 -1812) described him as ‘probably the foremost landscape painter in Rome’.

It is only since the late 1990s that the sketches made by Wallis in the Roman Campagna have come to light. This particular example is an essay in atmosphere. The countryside to the south of Rome is sombre and grey, a contrast to the sun-drenched landscape usually depicted in such studies. At the top, pale blue sky is glimpsed behind a bank of rolling grey clouds and an area of pink at the right hints at a sunset. But the chief subject is the driving rain, rendered in diagonal strokes of grey and increasing in intensity towards the left.

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