View of Powerscourt Demesne, ca. 1789
Oil on canvas
Signed at lower left, Ashford
43 1/4 x 59 in. (109.9 x 150 cm)
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Although born in England, Ashford became Ireland’s most successful landscape painter. Among his patrons was Richard Wingfield, 4th Viscount Powerscourt, who probably commissioned this painting. It records a view in the woodland surrounding Powerscourt House, built by Wingfield’s grandfather in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains in eastern Ireland. The grounds were landscaped by the gardener George Dean into a “fairy-tale demesne” with an amphitheatre of grass terraces, parterres, vistas, viewing points, obelisks, and gates. The painting is one of encounters and transitions, where an approaching hunter meets an unsuspecting deer, woodland copse meets pasture, lowlands meet mountains, and landscaped parkland meets open countryside. Appropriately, the season is autumn, when summer’s green merges with autumn’s golden amber.
Probably commissioned by Richard, 4th Viscount Powerscourt; Leixlip Castle, County Kildare; Sotheby's, London, May 22, 1997, lot 179
A. Crookshank, "A Life Devoted to Landscape Painting, William Ashford," Irish Arts Review, vol. II, 1995, p. 128, no. 34
Exhibited: London, Royal Academy, 1789
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