Dinas Bran from Llangollen

Dinas Bran from Llangollen

1770 to 1771
Richard Wilson RA
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 71 × 96 3/8 inches (180.3 × 244.8 cm)

This painting, together with View near Wynnstay, was commissioned to celebrate Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn’s coming of age in 1769. The young baronet paid Wilson £50 on account for both pictures in February 1770, and soon afterward they hung prominently in his grand new London house, 20 St. James’s Square, built by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1774. The prospect is downstream along the river Dee toward Llangollen village with its fourteenth-century bridge at the right, overshadowed on the left by the hilltop fortress, Dinas Brân (Crow Castle). The church tower is that of St. Collen, reconstructed in 1749. Much of the surrounding territory belonged to Sir Watkin, a distant relative of Wilson, who was the paramount landlord of Denbighshire and one of the richest men in Britain. Dinas Brân, an ancient royal Welsh fortress, had belonged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to a line of princes who were also lords of Bromfield and Yale (Iâl), but passed to the English crown after the death of Gruffudd ap Madoc in 1269. In Wilson’s time it was owned by the Myddelton family, political rivals of Sir Watkin.

B1976.7.83
Label on verso, center: “Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd. | [logo] No 34222 | [...] | London, | 43, Old Bond Street. | Piccadilly, W.”; upper center: “[...] | Royal Academy Exhibition of the Works of the Old Masters, [...] | Name of Artist Wilson | Title of Work The V[...] of Llangollen | Name and Address of P[...] | Sir Watkin Williams Wynn [...] | [...]”
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection