THE FELICE AQUEDUCT AND THE PORTA FURBA ON THE VIA TUSCOLANA, OUTSIDE ROME
Watercolour with pencil
36 x 54 cm
This view, one of many produced in the Roman campagna in the nineteenth century and earlier, shows the Fountain of Clement XII adjacent to the Porta Furba, on the outskirts of modern-day Rome.
This aqueduct, still in use, was built by Pope Sixtus V between 1583-1587, and named for him. It was built on the arches of Aqua Marcia and, to a lesser extent, on the arches of Aqua Claudia. Acqua Felice runs for about fifteen miles underground and seven miles above ground. The aqueduct itself was deemed something of an eyesore, and the fountain in which it terminated included a statue of Moses that was so derided that the sculptor responsible committed suicide. Fortunately the fountain seen in the present work, built by Luigi Vanvitelli in 1733, was less ambitious and provided a decorative watering hole before the Grand Tourist's entry to Rome.
This watercolour is one of at least two depicting the Roman campagna by Caroline St John Mildmay, the other having sold at Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury, 13.06.2013 (Lot 161). The Hon. Caroline Eugenia St John Mildmay (nee Waldgrave) was born the daughter of William Waldegrave, 1st Baron Radstock, sometime Governor of Newfoundland and Admiral in the Royal Navy (and 2nd son of the Earl Waldegrave). Caroline's mother, Cornelia (nee van Lennep) was Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Charlotte between 1799-1816. Caroline married the Venerable Carew Antony St John Mildmay, Archdeacon of Essex from 1862 to his death.
Caroline appears to have travelled on a Grand Tour c.1830, with views of the Alps and various Mediterannean locations including Italy and Sicily dated to around this time. She also made at least one further trip to the continent, presumably with her husband, to Avignon in 1868 (her view of the church there was previously with Abbot & Holder). A portrait of Henry John Gepp by Caroline is in the collection of New College, Oxford.