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Rome: The Forum with the Temple of Castor and Pollux; and The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Forum
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Bernardo Bellotto (Venice 1721-1780 Warsaw)\nRome: The Forum with the Temple of Castor and Pollux; and The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Forum\noil on canvas\n24 3/8 x 38 1/8 in. (61.9 x 96.8 cm.)\na pair (2)
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notes

This pair of views of the Roman Forum has a distinguished place in the group of pictures of Rome painted by the youthful Bernardo Bellotto at the outset of his independent career under the strong influence of his uncle, Antonio Canal, il Canaletto.

The two views are taken from positions that are hardly forty metres apart in the Forum, then known as the Campo Vaccino. In one the view is to the north-west, with the Capitol seen at the end of the vista. On the extreme left is the façade of the church of S. Maria Liberatrica, demolished in 1899. Close to the spectator are the three extant columns of the corinthian Temple of Castor and Pollux, originally consecrated in 484 B.C., but rebuilt under the Empire, and beyond, just below the Capitol, the better-preserved Temple of Saturn, an early foundation restored about 44 B.C.: tourists are examining the Parian marble columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux: the light is from the right, implying an hour very early in the morning. In the second picture, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, dedicated in 141 A.D., which served as the façade of the church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda, is seen from a position somewhat to the south of the viewpoint of the pendant: a carriage has passed, and there are numerous bystanders. The light is from the left, implying a time late in the afternoon.

For both pictures, as for other early views on Rome (see below), Bellotto referred to drawings in a series the greater part of which is in the British Museum. The attribution of these was disputed in the past, but since Hugo Chapman's observations of a date 'AUGUSTO X 1720' on the view of the Arch of Constantine (British Museum, no. 1850-6-26-222), it has been generally accepted that the drawings were made by the young Canaletto, who was in Rome at the time, working as his father's assistant on stage sets for operas by Scarlatti at the Teatro Capranica.

The British Museum drawings are crude and linear. Canaletto, probably with the help of assistance, himself painted variants of these, formerly in the Caledon collection and now in the Royal Collection (Constable, nos. 379 and 381; Levey, 1964, nos. 417 and 418, figs. 178 and 179). In these, numerous small adjustments of detail were made: thus the door of the building to the right of the Temple of Saturn, which was below the space between the central and the right hand window is centralised, and the recession of the buildings behind the Temple of Castor and Pollux was handled with much more sophistication. In the companion picture, the detail of the buildings at the end of the road to the right of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was altered. The figures in both pictures were revised. Bellotto clearly took as models the pictures in the Royal Collection rather than the earlier drawings, although he doubtless was aware of the latter, as he had access to companion views in the series and actually owned one of the components of this, the view of the Campidoglio from the north, now at Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, no. 2186 (Constable, no. 713-738, 19).

As Beddington fairly stated in the 2001 exhibition catalogue (p. 96), the two canvasses show that Bellotto 'was already capable of surpassing his uncle in technical brilliance': he dated the pair to circa 1742-3. Of the other pictures inspired by drawings in the 1720 series, two others, The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantinople, (Constable, ed., lists, 1976, no. 388*, sold in these Rooms, 7 July 2004, lot 98) and the Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano (private collection, Constable, no. 400, exhibited in 2001, no. 26; 62.5 x 98 cm.), also depends on drawings in the 1720 series.

These are the same size as the present canvasses, allowing for the inevitable process of relining (because measurements are so often distorted by conversion, imperial statistics are supplied where appropriate). A further picture, clearly by Bellotto rather than Canaletto, the Piazza del Popolo (Constable, no. 402; 23½ x 38 in.) is also of the same format. So is the Pantheon in the Dayton Art Institute, restored by Beddington to Bellotto in 2004 (op. cit., p. 673. fig. 24). As was argued in the entry of the 7 July 2004 sale catalogue, the evidence of canvas size is of some interest. Canaletto had supplied two pictures of similar, if slightly smaller scale, to the Duke of Kent at an earlier date (Constable, nos. 243-4; see Christie's, London, 10 December 2003, lot 51, 23½ x 37in.) and an autograph view of the Grand Canal from the Palazzo Balbi of the same format as the present work is in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo (Constable, no. 212, 61 x 99 cm.). The views of the Piazzetta and the Molo executed in 1743 for Consul Smith, now in the Royal Collection (Constable, nos. 68 and 85), are only marginally smaller in size (23½ x 37¼ and 23¼ x 37 5/8 in.); while the related pair of views of the Forum now in the Royal Collection (Constable, nos. 378 and 381, 24 x 37½ in.) correspond even more closely. Other recorded pictures of this scale also imply of links between the two artists. The Bellotto View of the Dolo (exhibited in 2001, no. 12, 23¼ x 37¼ in.) is a variant of the damaged picture by Canaletto in the Ashmolean (Constable, no. 371, 24 x 37¼ in.), the traditional dating of which to circa 1728 is no longer sustainable. A number of Bellotto's early views of Venice are also much of the same size, for example the Springfield Campo di S. Giovanni and Paolo (exhibited in 2001, no. 7, 24 x 38¾ in.) and his contribution to the series of Venetian views supplied to the 4th Earl of Carlisle for Castle Howard (i.e. the Piazzetta exhibited in 2001, no. 4, 23¼ x 35¼ in., based on the smaller Hampden prototype (Constable, no. 69) which measures 18½ x 30¼ in.) as well, of course, as the ex-Paxton views of Venice (Constable, nos. 129 (6) and 135, 23½ x 36¼ in., see below) which were sold by Smith's widow to Patrick Home at the same time as the present views, and like these considered to be by the older artist. The format was clearly one in standard use in Venice by Bellotto, circa 1742-3, but also employed at the same time by Canaletto, as the dated pictures in the Royal Collection prove and in his studio.

HISTORY:

The very distinguished early provenance of these views was established by the late Frances Vivian. Described as 'Due Vedute di Roma... di Canaletto compagni', the pictures appear as no. 13 on a list of 25 pictures acquired in 1773 from Consul Smith's widow, Elizabeth, sister of the diplomat John Murray, by Patrick Home of Wedderburn and, formerly, of Paxton. Joseph Smith (c. 1674-1770), merchant and banker, was the single most important patron of Canaletto's career. He not only formed a major collection of works by the artist, but also was instrumental in a significant number of commissions from British visitors on the Grand Tour and also for patrons who placed orders from England. Smith sold his picture collection and his library to King George III in 1763, but it is clear that he either withheld certain items, whether in his palazzo in Venice or his country villa at Mogliano, or subsequently acquired further works. On his death in 1770, Smith's widow inherited his remaining possessions, many of which were of serious distinction. Home acquired a group of pictures: others were sold to John Strange, but the residue was sold in these Rooms, 22 April and 16 May 1776.

The list of Home's purchases in his journal for 16 June 1773 was presumably based on one drawn up for Mrs Smith and records the present canvasses as 'Due vedute di Roma... di Canaletti compagni' (under no. 13). The following entry (no. 14) was for 'Due Vedute della piazza del San Marco'. Frances Vivian was the first to note Home's further observation:

These are perhaps among the best views ever painted by Canaletti. He was long employed by Mr Smith & these were all retouched several times, as soon as any defects are discovered, one of them exhibits the Grand Canal di Giudice... The other a more particular view of St. Marks... (as transcribed by C. Beddington in the 2001 catalogue).

That these views (Constable, nos. 123(b) and 135), referred to above, are also by the young Bellotto demonstrates how difficult even contemporaries could find it to distinguish between the work of Canaletto and that of Bellotto. Home's comments may, however, also suggest a degree of confusion on Smith's widow's part.

Patrick Home (1728-1808) was the eldest son of the Rev. Ninian Home of Billie by his second wife Margaret, elder daughter of his kinsman Sir George Home, 3rd Bt. of Wedderburn. The latter had forfeited his estates for his part in the 1715 rebellion: already mortgaged to the Rev. Ninian Home, these were returned by the latter to Sir George's eldest son, and subsequently passed to the third son, Patrick Home, on whose death in 1766 these were inherited by his own eponymous son. Patrick Home had already inherited his father's very considerable fortune in 1751 when his mother was murdered by her butler. The existing house at Billie was inadequate for a young man of cosmopolitan tastes, who had been educated at Leipzig university and gravitated to the Prussian court, before going on a Grand Tour of Italy in 1750-1. Plans -- which have not survived -- were drawn up for a new house at Paxton, probably in the Adam office, and work proceeded in 1759-61. But Home, dispirited by the fall out of a romantic attachment in Prussia, lost interest in the project, and, in 1773, sold Paxton to his nephew and first cousin Ninian Home, the son of his mother's younger sister Isabella and his father's son by his first marriage, Alexander Home of Jardinsfield.

In 1771 Patrick Home married Jane Graham, daughter of a West Indian sugar planter, James Graham of Dougaldston. Shortly afterwards they set out on an extended Italian tour, lasting from the late summer of 1771, when they were in Turin, until 1777: they only returned to England in 1779. During their absence Wedderburn Castle, near Duns, now Home's main seat, was rebuilt in the castellated style to the design of Robert Adam (1771-5). The Homes's tour is fully documented in papers which were used by the late Alastair Rowan (Country Life, 17, 24 and 31 August 1967, pp. 364-7, 422-5 and 470-1 and 8 August 1974, pp. 354-7). While in Italy he acquired chimneypieces, vases and copies of a number of celebrated prototypes. The group of pictures purchased from Mrs Smith was his most significant single acquisition, but when in Florence he bought a considerable number of works by renaissance as well as by more fashionable later artists. These were evidently intended for Wedderburn, work on which was superintended in Home's absence by his nephew and first cousin -- and eventual successor -- George, the younger brother of Ninian Home, the purchaser of Paxton. The adultery of Patrick Home's wife, with the landscape painter Jacob More, had a traumatic effect on both: she took solace in catholicism and he lost interest in Wedderburn, as he had in Paxton.

George Home inherited Paxton as a result of the murder of his brother Ninian, Governor of Grenada, in 1795, and at the age of 61, succeeded to Wedderburn on the death of Patrick Home's surviving sister, Miss Jean Home, in 1812. He evidently decided to concentrate the pictures he had inherited at Paxton, rather than at Wedderburn, and called in Robert Reid to design an ambitious neo-classical picture gallery, which was built in 1812-3 and now serves as an outstation of the National Galleries of Scotland. Wedderburn and Paxton passed to the great-nephews of George Home's mother, the elder, John Foreman Home inheriting Wedderburn, and his brother William Foreman Home Paxton. Ownership of the two houses eventually passed to the family of the latter's daughter, Jean, wife of David Milne and grandmother of Col. David Milne-Home, the father of Miss Milne-Home by whom the present pictures were sold in, or soon after, 1925.

title

Rome: The Forum with the Temple of Castor and Pollux; and The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Forum

medium

Oil on canvas

notice

Please note that the Provenance should read as follows:

Joseph Smith ('Consul Smith') (c. 1674-1770), Venice or Mogliano, and by inheritance to his widow, Elizabeth (c. 1718-1788), from whom purchased, with other pictures, in June 1773 by Patrick Home of Wedderburn (1728-1808), M.P., and probably through descent to his brother, General David Home of Wedderburn (d. 1809) and to their sister,

Miss Jean Home of Wedderburn (d. 1812), and to their nephew,

George Home of Wedderburn and Paxton, by whom moved to Paxton, and by inheritance through his mother's great-nephew,

William Foreman Home of Paxton and the latter's daughter,

Jean, wife of David Milne, at Paxton House, Duns, Berwickshire, to Colonel David Milne-Home and his daughter,

Miss Milne-Home, acquired from the latter by

Messrs. Knoedler, London, post March 1925, and sold to the following

with Gaston Neumans, Paris, 27 September 1928,

the art market , 1959; Swiss Private Collection; London art market, 1999.

prelot

THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

creator

Bernardo Bellotto

exhibited

Venice, Museo Correr, Bernardo Bellotto, 1722-1780, 11 February-27 June 2001 and Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Bernardo Bellotto and the Capitals of Europe, 28 July-21 October 2001, nos. 18 and 19 (catalogue entries by C. Beddington: the pictures were not in fact exhibited).

department

Old Master & British Paintings

dimensions

24 3/8 x 38 1/8 in. (61.9 x 96.8 cm.)

literature

C. Hussey, 'Paxton House, Berkwickshire, a Seat of Miss Milne Home', Country Life, LVII, 21 March 1925, p. 451, figs. 10 and 12 (as Italian school, circa 1750).

T. Ashby and W. G. Constable, 'Canaletto and Bellotto in Rome', The Burlington Magazine, XLVI, 1925, pp. 208 and 288.

W.G. Constable, Canaletto, Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768, Oxford, 1962, 2, pp. 360, no. 379(b) and 361, no. 381 (b); 2nd edition, ed. by J.G. Links, Oxford, 1976, II, pp. 387, no. 379(b) and 388, no. 381 (b); 3rd edition, ed. by J.G. Links, Oxford, 1989, I, p. lxxxix; 2, pp. 387, no. 379 (b) and 388, no. 381 (b).

M. Levey, The Later Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London, 1964, p. 66, under nos. 417-18; 2nd edition, London, 1991, pp. 48-49, under nos. 417-18.

S. Kozakiewicz, 'Il motivo Capitolino nell'arte de Bernardo Bellotto', Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie, VII, 1966, p. 17.

F. Vivian, Il console Smith, mercante e collezionista, Vicenza, 1971, pp. 143-44, pls. 125-26.

S. Kozakiewicz, Bernardo Bellotto, trans. Mary Whittall, London, 1972, 1, pp. 39, 222, fig. C46; 2, pp. 51-52, no. 69.

E. Camesasca, L'Opera completa del Bellotto, Milan, 1974, no. 24.

O. Millar, in the exhibition catalogue, Canaletto: Designi-dipinti-incisioni, ed. A. Bettagno, Venice, 1982, p. 70, under no. 100.

D. Succi, 'Il giovane Bellotto', in the exhibition catalogue Luca Carlevarijs e la veduta veneziana del Settecento, Padua, 1994, pp. 51-2, fig. 15.

U. Hoff, European Painting and Sculpture before 1800 in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1995, pp. 12 and 13, note 6.

B.A. Kowalczyk, 'Il Bellotto veneziano: 'grande intendimento ricercasi'', Arte Veneta, XLVIII, 1996, pp. 72, 80 and 88, note 8. J. Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, compiled from the Brinsley Ford Archive, New Haven and London, 1997, p. 516.

J.G. Links, A Supplement to W. G. Constable's Canaletto, Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768, London, 1998, pp. 13-14, under no. 129 (a), and 38, no. 379 (b), pl. 273.

C. Beddington, 'Bernardo Bellotto and his circle in Italy', The Burlington Magazine, CXLVI, October 2004, p. 673.

provenance

Joseph Smith ('Consul Smith') (c. 1674-1770), Venice or Mogliano, and by inheritance to his widow, Elizabeth (c. 1718-1788), from whom purchased, with other pictures, in June 1773 by

Patrick Home of Wedderburn (1728-1808), M.P., and probably through descent to his brother,

General David Home of Wedderburn (d. 1809) and to their sister,

Miss Jean Home of Wedderburn (d. 1812), and to their nephew,

George Home of Wedderburn and Paxton, by whom moved to Paxton, and by inheritance through his mother's great-nephew,

William Foreman Home of Paxton and the latter's daughter,

Jean, wife of David Milne, at Paxton House, Duns, Berwickshire, to Colonel David Milne-Home and his daughter,

Miss Milne-Home, acquired from the latter by

Messrs. Knoedler, London, post March 1925, and sold to the following

with Gaston Neumans, Paris, 27 September 1928.

Col. Norman Colville, M.C., Penheale Manor, Cornwall; Sotheby's, London, 9 June 1955, lot 164.

with Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, 1955.


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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