Exhibition - Bridge and Wilson: Landscape

Antony Bridge working on his preliminary sketch

A popular Malvern artist and an 18th century landscape painter, separated by two-and-a-half centuries, are featured in a new exhibition in Croome's mansion house.

Local artist Antony Bridge has been commissioned to paint the Croome landscape, 261 years after famous landscape painter Richard Wilson was also engaged to paint the emerging landscape of the 6th Earl of Coventry, near Worcester. 

Antony Bridge was asked by the National Trust to interpret the same view as Wilson selected in his accomplished landscape painting of 1758. Both of the artists’ work will feature in a new exhibition opening on 15 February and will include six paintings by Wilson on loan from Gloucester Museum.

“I was delighted to be asked to undertake Croome’s first landscape painting commission since 1758, I wanted to paint the view with the house at the same proportions but to give this new piece more colour and energy which I try to do in all my work. This painting is my largest to date and a little daunting at first. It’s such a large canvas, but I came to love it and it allowed me to be more creative having such a large space for the eye to meander over.”  Antony Bridge, Croome’s artist-in-residence.

Richard Wilson's painting of Croome
Richard Wilson's painting of Croome
Richard Wilson's painting of Croome

Visitors can see these two large and very different studies by the two successful artists in the Drawing Room of Croome Court. Richard Wilson (1714-1782) was an influential landscape painter, who worked in Britain and Italy. He was a founder member of the Royal Academy in London who began his career as a portrait painter, but whilst in Italy and under the advice of his friend, Francesco Zuccarelli, developed his style in landscape painting. He created views based upon classical idealised landscapes and many wealthy landowners, including Croome’s 6th Earl, commissioned Wilson to paint their estates. 

Wilson paintings at Croome
Wilson paintings on display at Croome
Wilson paintings at Croome

Antony Bridge a self-taught artist based in Malvern, paints in all weathers on the hills overlooking Croome. Art enthusiasts from all over the world collect Antony’s paintings and are represented in many galleries and art shows across the UK. Antony likes to walk or cycle to his study spots and uses a pochade box while making en plein air studies of the outdoors. This is how he began the study of Croome during the Summer this year. 

Antony Bridge working in his studio
Antony Bridge working in his studio
Antony Bridge working in his studio

“The viewpoint has huge historical importance for Croome as Wilson first painted it as an idealised picture of the future, rather than an observation.  In 1758, the parkland was a building site, with the landscape and river still under construction by ‘Capability’ Brown. We don’t know exactly why the 6th Earl of Coventry commissioned a painting at this point of the redesign of Croome, but we can surmise that it was to show friends and acquaintances what his new ‘utopia’ would look like, and maybe to also remind himself of the future in the midst of upheaval.”  Amy Forster-Smith, Croome’s Visitor Experience Manager

The new exhibition is on show in the Drawing Room of Croome Court until the end of 2019.

Antony Bridge with his landscape paintings
antony bridge with landscape paintings
Antony Bridge with his landscape paintings