Valley of the Mawddach with Cader Idris beyond

Richard Wilson, 1714 - 1782

Valley of the Mawddach with Cader Idris beyond

Richard Wilson 1714 - 1782


A mountainous landscape in Wales viewed from a high vantage point, with an overall grey-green tone. In the left foreground is a dark slope with trees silhouetted against the sky and large boulders at its foot; below this, a group of figures on horseback negotiate their way downhill towards trees lining the river Mawddach below, which meanders along the valley from the right bottom corner of the composition towards the centre. A slope scattered with trees rises gently up to the right on the far side of the river; from behind this rise, a more thickly wooded slope emerges to ascend up towards the left edge of the composition. On the horizon are the hazy peaks of Cader Idris and Myndd Moel. The scene is lit by pale yellow sunshine coming from behind and to the left of these mountains.

Display Label

Gallery text panel Face and Place Portraiture and Landscape in the 18th Century A dramatic growth in Britain's wealth during the 1700s brought about an increased demand for art and design. Hundreds of grand houses were built or improved and many were filled with impressive private collections. The prominent display of paintings and decorative arts demonstrated their owners' status and taste. Portraiture became particularly fashionable, leading to rising numbers of 'face painters' and to an increase in the quality of their work. The ability to capture a likeness was most important but artists could also enhance a sitter's image with qualities such as prestige, wisdom or power. New public exhibitions gave artists a shop window and the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, organised the most important annual show. Amid this developing climate of enthusiasm for art, landscape painting also began its remarkable evolution. Landscape arose from a need to accurately record views and was first thought to be of little artistic merit. But as painters grew in confidence during the later 1700s it was treated with more creativity and seriousness, establishing a distinctive tradition in British art.

Object Name

Valley of the Mawddach with Cader Idris beyond

Creators Name

Richard Wilson

Date Created



framed: 122.5cm x 137cm
unframed: 91.7cm x 106.7cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


© Manchester Art Gallery

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