View of the Queen's Theatre from the Rotunda at Stowe, Buckinghamshire
Jacques Rigaud (French, Marseilles 1681–1754 Paris)
Ink and wash
11 5/8 x 19 1/2 in. (29.5 x 49.5 cm.)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1942
Not on view
This washed ink drawing shows elegantly dressed members of the English aristocracy walking through Stowe garden (Buckinghamshire), admiring one of its numerous classical buildings. The drawing forms part of a series made by the French topographical draftsman Jacques Rigaud (1681–1754), published in print form in Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire, London, 1739. Charles Bridgeman (died 1738) was the main landscape architect of this transitional period from formal gardening to informal landscape design. He worked at Stowe from 1715 to 1726, collaborating with the architect Sir John Vanbrugh (1664–1726), close friend of the owner Richard Temple, first viscount Cobham. Proud of his work, in 1733 Bridgeman asked Rigaud to come to England to create a detailed record of the estate, the widespread publication of which instantly made Stowe into England's most influential landscape garden. Rigaud's drawings give a good impression of the semi-natural layout typical for early landscape design, still carefully balancing wild pasture with traditional geometrical sections. Stowe underwent various subsequent transformations, the final phase of which still forms the basis of today's park.
Inscription: In pen and brown ink below: "View of the Queen's Theatre from the Rotunda / Veüe du Theatre de la Reine prise a la coté de la Rotonde"
Thomas Grenville (British, 1755–1846), according to Peter Willis, Thomas Grenville was either Viscount Cobham's nephew (1719-1747), a brother-in-law of William Pitt; or else Cobham's great-nephew Thomas Grenville (1755-1846) a book collector and donor of the Grenville Library to the British Museum.; Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1st Baronet (British, 1792–1872); Edwards (British, active mid 18th century), (?) Peter Willis writes that the album was purchased at the Phillips sale by "Edwards" for £14.0s.0d; Vendor: F. & G. Staack
John Harris, Catalogue of British Drawings for Architecture...in American Collections, 1971, p. 182
John Harris "Some English Architectural and Decorative Drawings: In the Museum's Collection." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 21, no. 6, New York, February 1963, fig. no. 3, pp. 214-5, ill.
Peter Willis "Jacques Rigaud's Drawings of Stowe in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." in Eighteenth-Century Studies. Baltimore, 1972, p. 88.
Peter Willis Charles Bridgeman and the English Landscape Garden. A. Zwemmer, 1977, fig. no. 139, ill.