Joseph Wright of Derby and his Visit to Italy 1773 – 1775
Image: Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), Eruption of Mount Vesuvius (1774). Gouache on paper.
Image from: Derby Museum & Art Gallery
Text: Malcolm Dick
Joseph Wright left for Italy in 1773. Over the next two years he travelled throughout the country, observing, drawing and writing letters to his family and friends in England. Wright was interested in the artistic and architectural remains of ancient Rome and the Renaissance. He recorded his observations in pen and ink and chalk drawings, but more importantly in the long term, he drew the places he visited. They included Rome itself and Italian landscapes and coastal scenes, particularly around Naples. Some of his most dramatic images included his views of Mount Vesuvius, including the volcanic eruption which heads this exhibition.
Wright’s Italian experience helped him to develop as an artist. This exhibition presents and explores a selection of images he created during his time in the country and paintings of Italian landscapes he created after his return to England.Next in this section »
Continue browsing this sectionJoseph Wright of Derby and his Visit to Italy 1773 – 1775 Joseph Wright’s Journey to Italy Study of Fragment of a Classical Frieze, Rome (1774) Belisarius receiving Alms (1775) Girandola with St Peter’s Rome (1774/5) Fire in Rome (1774) A Letter from the Artist in Rome, including Sketches of the Castel Sant’ Angelo and Saint Peter’s (1774) Eruption of Mount Vesuvius (1774) Virgil’s Tomb (1782) A View of Tivoli (c1783-86) Bridge through a Cavern, Moonlight (1791)
Sources and Further Reading
Daniels, Stephen, Joseph Wright (London, Tate Gallery, 1999).
Derby Art Gallery, Joseph Wright of Derby (Derby Museums & Art Gallery, 1979), Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Joseph Wright of Derby Information Pack (Derby 2002).
Fraser, David. “Joseph Wright of Derby and the Lunar Society”, in Egerton, Judy, Wright of Derby (London, 1990).
Klingender F D, Art and the Industrial Revolution, (London, Paladin, 1972).
Wallis, Jane, Joseph Wright of Derby 1734-1797 (Derby, Derby Museum & Art Gallery,1997).
The largest collection of Joseph Wright’s paintings is held by Derby Museum and Art Gallery.