Rare Painting Unveiled at Chiswick House

English Heritage bring sixth Rysbrack in 'Bedingfield Set' home

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Following a short period of cleaning and restoration, English Heritage has unveiled a newly acquired painting at Chiswick House entitled ‘A view of Chiswick House from the south-west’ by the renowned Dutch landscape artist Pieter Andreas Rysbrack (c.1685-1748).

One of the eight ‘Bedingfeld set’ that were originally commissioned between 1729 and 1732 by Lady Bedingfield, sister of the 3rd Earl of Burlington (patron of Chiswick House), this painting will go on permanent display in the Green Velvet Room at the house alongside five of the set previously acquired by English Heritage.

An important piece of artwork in its own right, this picture is particularly significant because it depicts the Old and the New House and shows the remains of the formal landscape, before it was swept away and replaced by the more naturalised style that exists today.

Since going under the hammer at Sotherby’s on the 6th June, the painting has undergone careful cleaning and restoration at English Heritage’s conservation studio.

Adam Webster, Senior Collections Conservator (fine art), English Heritage undertook the work and commented: “When the painting came to us it was in good condition considering its age. Initial assessment revealed that the picture mostly required cleaning as the surface coating was yellowed and discoloured. Some areas had also been disfigured due to overpaint and varnish. Once this was removed the true, cool tonality of the work was returned along with the original sense of perspective.”

Cathy Power, Senior Curator (London) commented on the unveiling: “It is fantastic to add another painting to the Rysbrack collection at Chiswick House. All the artwork in the set are special and this painting is particularly important as it offers an insight into the house and gardens before it was completely remodelled by Lord Burlington – it is a glimpse in to a long lost past.”

Carole Souter, Director of National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: “Chiswick House is a glorious example of 18th-century British architecture and this magnificent painting by Rysbrack, one of the period’s prominent landscape painters, shows it in all its glory. The National Heritage Memorial Fund's grant has ensured that this painting is returned to its natural home for future generations to enjoy.”

The painting was successfully secured on behalf of English Heritage by Richard Green, from Richard Green Galleries, Bond Street. This acquisition was made possible due to the generous support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the London Historic House Museums Trust, a £45,455 grant from The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, Friends of Chiswick House and a number of private individuals.

September 12, 2007