Watkin Williams-Wynn in Rome, by Batoni

Contributed by National Museum Wales Cardiff

Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Thomas Apperley and Edward Hamilton, by Pompeo Batoni, Rome, 1768

This life-size oil painting took four years to completeSir Watkin Williams-Wynn was the richest Welshman of his day, with great estates in north Wales. Before he died in 1789, he had spent much of his fortune on buildings, on gardens and on collecting art .He loved music and the theatre, but he had a particular passion for the visual arts.

He is the red-haired figure on the left. He was only nineteen years old when he commissioned this portrait in 1768, which includes two of his travelling companions. It celebrates their shared love of painting, music and poetry. Sir Watkin grasps a crayon-holder and his own drawing of a painting by Raphael. Edward Hamilton, in military uniform, holds a flute, and gestures towards Thomas Apperley who is reading a poem by Dante.

Batoni made many portraits of British visitors to Rome. These are full of movement, glamour and artistic effects. He was in great demand and took four years to complete this picture, which is widely regarded as his masterpiece.

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Painted in Rome, 1768-1771


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