John Wootton (Snitterfield circa 1682-1764 London)
An Italianate landscape at dusk with a drover and his cattle amongst the ruins of a temple oil on canvas 39.2 x 52.1cm (15 7/16 x 20 1/2in).
PROVENANCE: Sale, Sotheby's Parke-Bernet London, 2 March 1983, lot 89 With Ackermann and Johnson, London (according to a label on the reverse)
Although best known today as an equestrian artist, Wootton was much sought after by connoisseurs of his own day for his classical landscapes, even being put on a par with Gaspar Dughet, as we see from the quotation in lot 65. With the advantage of modern hindsight, however, such landscapes as the present work might be appreciated more for their particular Englishness, reflecting the poetical preoccupations of the Augustan age. Similar landscapes by Wootton were commissioned by and belonged to both Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford and Alexander Pope, who were known to have visited the gardens at Stowe together. In view of Pope's maxim that 'all gardening is landscape painting', the present work is an interesting parallel to the more famous incarnation of the English landscape in the gardens of William Kent and his followers