Karen Taylor Fine Art

Agent, Advisor and Dealer in British Art

English School late18th Century

On the Tiber about 4 or 5 miles above Ponte Molle, Rome

English School


Watercolour over traces of graphite, inscribed in pencil verso:On the Tiber about/4 or 5 miles above/Ponte Mole-/….

27.5 x 37.5 cm; 10 ¾ x 14 ¾ inches

Possibly Sir William Forbes, 6thBt. of Moneymusk and from 1781 of Pitsligo, Scotland (1739-1806);
His son, Sir William Forbes, 7thBt. of Pitsligo (1773-1828), also of Colinton House, Greenhill House and Fettercairn House, Kincardineshire;
Thence by family descent at Fettercairn House, Kincardineshire

This fine watercolour shows a famous bend in the river Tiber with the torre lazzarone in the distance. It is reminiscent of the work of John ‘Warwick’ Smith in the handling of the landscape with its clear wash and the trees show the strong influence of John Robert Cozens with dryer more feathery brushstrokes. Both artists were in Rome at the end of the 18th century and it was common for sketching parties to be arranged with other members of the artistic circle active in Rome at this time. Stylistic influences were inevitably exchanged as the multiple influences visible in the present work reflects.

Sir William Forbes, 6th Bt., made a Grand Tour to Italy in 1791-1792 with his wife, Lady Elizabeth. They did not buy extensively but did purchase some drawings and prints on their trip. He was a founder member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. His son, Sir William Forbes, 7th Bt., began acquiring old master drawings as a young man, travelled to Italy in 1827 and formed an important collection of Old Master paintings later in life. He bought extensively from the posthumous sales of John McGouan (L. 1496), another significant Scottish collector, in 1803 and 1804. He was also an enthusiastic patron of British contemporary watercolourists.

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