16 November 2006
Francis Wheatley, R.A. (1747-1801)
Rosamond's Pond, St James's Park, with Westminster Abbey in the distance, London
signed and dated 'F Wheatley/1778' (lower left)
pencil, pen and grey ink, ochre, red, blue and grey wash, watermark 'J WHATMAN', on the artist's black-line mount
15 x 21½ in. (38 x 54.5 cm.)
Victor Rienaecker; Christie's, London, 30 November 1923, lot 100 (40 gns to Agnew's).
with Agnew's, London. H.R.H. The Princess Royal (+); Christie's, London 5 July 1966, lot 103.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 15 March 1967, lot 22.
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M. Webster, Francis Wheatley R.A., 1747-1801: Paintings, Drawings and Engravings, London, 1965, p. 16, fig. 16.
London, Walker Galleries, June 1913.
Bath, Assembly Rooms, International Art Treasures Exhibition, 1973, no. 9.
The present drawing was executed in 1778. In 1779 Wheatley eloped to Dublin with the wife of his fellow artist John Alexander Gresse (1741-1794), who sued for divorce citing Wheatley. The couple later married and returned to London in 1784.
Fenced in by King Henry VIII to be a deer park, St James's Park remained largely the same until 1603 when King James I drained and landscaped it, creating Rosamond's Pond at the west end. When Charles II became King in 1660 the centrepiece of the new park was a straight canal, lined on each side with avenues of trees. However during the 18th Century one end of the canal was filled in to make Horse Guards parade. Wheatley may have been recording a lost view as Rosamond's Pond had disappeared by the 1770s.
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