Cock Tavern at Cheam, c. 1760
oil on canvas
81.2 x 146.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. Jeremiah J. Nolan
Along with Thomas Gainsborough, Richard Wilson helped shape the development of landscape painting in Britain, influencing artists like John Constable and J.M.W. Turner and their view of nature. Wilson’s landscapes combine the natural elements of the English countryside with the light and atmo-spheric elements associated with the landscapes of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin. After studies with Thomas Wright in London, Wilson spent at least three years in Italy where he witnessed the Roman painting style firsthand. In Cock Tavern at Cheam, Wilson introduces a number of figures and cottage architecture into the composition as a means of exploring the relationship between man and nature. Here we see the artist’s ability to bring together the real and ideal in the landscape, creating a scene that allows the Italianate style to thrive in the English countryside.