But while the paintings of those who followed him feature in blockbuster exhibitions and appear on placemats and calendars across the globe,
An exhibition of work by Wilson opening at the National Museum Cardiff tomorrow to coincide with the 300th anniversary of his birth aims to help restore the reputation of one of the great 18th century artists.
The exhibition, which also features work by Constable and Turner, makes the case that Wilson fundamentally changed the way British and European artists approached landscape.
Before Wilson, the fashion was to sketch from nature but return to the studio to produce idealised - and inaccurate - final versions. But, to the consternation of some in the establishment, Wilson decided to paint what was in front him.
Born in 1714 into a well-to-do family of farmers and clergy in north
His life changed in 1750 when he travelled to
He became successful and popular. His work sold well, and on his return to
"And by doing that he changed everything," said
Wilson painted celebrated views of mountains in north
In addition, Wilson revolutionised the English country house picture. Where the house itself had always taken centre stage, Wilson pushed the building to one side, a technique copied by Constable who, after seeing Wilson's painting of Tabley House in
Wilson fell victim to drink and illness. His fortunes dipped and he spent the last years of his life living in a garret in central
Thanks to the likes of Turner and Constable he retained a certain fame in the 19th century, but fell into obscurity in the 20th. There has been no significant international exhibition of his work for 30 years.
left. Above, a portrait of the artist
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