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Richard Wilson, The Valley of the Dee, with Chester in the Distance

Key facts
Full title The Valley of the Dee, with Chester in the Distance
Artist Richard Wilson
Artist dates 1713/14 - 1782
Date made about 1761
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 148 × 193.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1953
Inventory number NG6197
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Valley of the Dee, with Chester in the Distance
Richard Wilson

Like its pair Holt Bridge on the River Dee, which is also in the National Gallery, this is a view of the valley where England and Wales meet. It is probably the ‘View near Chester’ that Wilson exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1761. It was most likely painted downstream from the village of Holt in Denbighshire in North Wales, from a viewpoint five miles to the east of Gresford. The towers of Chester Cathedral and St John’s Church are just visible in the background. The hills in the distance may be in Lancashire, beyond the River Mersey. Wales is on the left of the river and England is on the right.

The style of the landscape is inspired by the work of the seventeenth-century French neoclassical painter, Claude, who depicted views of the countryside outside Rome. His paintings were very fashionable in Britain when Wilson painted this landscape.

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