Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

ca. 1745
Richard Wilson RA
1714-1782
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 25 1/2 x 41 5/16 inches (64.8 x 104.9 cm)

Caernarfon Castle, completed in 1745, was one of Wilson’s first landscapes, painted before he departed for Italy in 1750. Here, the castle, built by the English king Edward I, is noble in its centered position behind the sweeping body of water. Although Caernarfon in the eighteenth century was a thriving town with a busy port, Wilson’s view depicts the castle as a ruin in a tranquil backwater. As a Welsh- born intellectual, Wilson may have been demonstrating the presence of the ancient past in contemporary Wales and its suitability for representation by artists such as those working in the foreground.

B1976.7.174
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection