WILLIAM MARLOW (1740-1813)
SOLD TO A PRIVATE COLLECTION, ITALY
THE TEMPLE OF VESTA AT TIVOLI
Washes & watercolour over traces of pencil, with pen & grey ink
33 x 28cm | Framed: 57 x 51cm
Anonymous Sale, Sotheby's, London, 12.03.1987, Lot 79 [ill.];
Private Collection, U.K.
William Marlow was born in London and studied first under the great marine painter Samuel Scott, who excelled in painting views of London's riverside topography in particular and whose drawings of these subjects were evidently an important influence on his pupil. Marlow would go on to paint many similar views of London to Scott, chiefly in oils. Marlow began exhibiting in 1762 at the Society of Artists and made views of country seats his specialty at first, painting numerous such works in his early years. In 1765, on the advice of the Duchess of Northumberland, he travelled to France and on to Italy, returning home three years later.
On this trip he is known to have visited Paris, Avignon, Nimes, Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice - all of which he painted in both watercolours and oils. His style was quite close to several of his contemporaries in Italy, namely the Scotsman Jacob More, his fellow-Englishman John 'Warwick' Smith, and the Welshman Thomas Jones. Like his peers, he had absorbed an eye for the picturesque and brought this to bear in particular on the classical topography of Italy, nowhere more so than Tivoli. He exhibited many of his Franco-Italian views at the Society of Artists and the R.A. upon his return to contemporary praise, as well as establishing something of a template for later 'souvenir' paintings of Lyons and Villeneuve-les-Avignon with these exhibitions.
Marlow worked across various media with dexterity - oils, gouache, watercolour, monochrome washes, pen and of course pencil. Iolo Williams wrote of Marlow's monochrome works, "In monochrome Marlow can sometimes spring a real surprise, and I remember some years ago finding a grey wash drawing...it was very freely and forcefully dashed in...Mr Oppé [Paul Oppé, art historian,illustrious collector and critic], when faced with this conundrum, remarked that...if he had to guess, he would guess Marlow...Within a year a finished version in full watercolour, signed by Marlow, turned up at Christie's" . Williams even illustrated his book with another view of Tivoli by Marlow, formerly owned by the artist Thomas Girtin.
 Iolo Williams, Early English Watercolours,
London (2nd ed, 1970), pp. 73-74