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silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

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"Second Premium Landscape" | attr. John Smith of Chichester

Smith of Chichester

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catalog text

England, 1717-1764

"The Second Premium Landscape, a copy"

oil on canvas | unsigned, attributed posthumously verso in pitch "jno Smith of Chichester 1716-1764"

Item # 208DEJ23W 

In 1760 the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce initiated a prize to be awarded to artists based on the judgement of their work by the society. George Smith of Chichester one the First Premium award for his landscape submission and John Smith of Chichester was awarded the Second Premium for his own landscape. That painting would be acquired by the Goodwood House of Chichester where it remains in their collection today. It is a magnificent painting measuring 6' 4" x 4' 6" and it was included in the collection of engravings executed by William Woollett in 1763 for "Picturesque Scenery of England and Wales", a work that showcased many of the Smith Brothers' paintings reversed as engravings.

Executed in oil on canvas, the present example remains in fine original condition over its original stretchers, the canvas being unlined and still presenting beautifully. It depicts a sweeping landscape that is clever in its melding of a classical pastoral ideal together with the intricacies of the Dutch landscape paintings of the seventeenth-century (Pallant, p. 49). The scene is anchored by a river with a trio of figures congregated in the center while a flock of sheep and some cows are herded over the arched bridge in the distance; sheep rest in the shade of the woods on the right while in the distance under pink sky is a hint of the coastal waters that border a small town. The spires of a church rise into the blue-ish hues of distant mountains.

This example of the Second Premium is notable in that it includes elements of the scene along the left side of the painting that were left out of the original example at Goodwood: the boulders along the water, the castle on the hill and all the detail in between. And also that it was executed in the same orientation as the engraving, rather than the reversed scene originally painted. For a similar orientation, see the relatively low-quality painting after the engraving in oil on copper that was offered at Sotheby's in 2017, a small painting attributed to John Smith of Chichester that was offered with an estimate of $ 5,000 - $ 7,000.

The painting is inscribed in black pitch on the reverse in a period script "jno Smith of Chichester 1716-1764", "FG6981" and in chalk "LOT 333"; it retains a label from Richard Feigen & Co of New York and the upper right corner is retained an early loan label that was never filled out. The painting is housed in an ebonized and parcel gilded frame from the middle of the 20th century. It is unknown whether the painting was executed by John Smith of Chichester or was completed by a follower of his work. As discussed by Brian Stewart in the Pallant House catalog of The Smith Brothers of Chichester, the exquisite engravings of works by the Chichester Brothers were incredibly popular and widely distributed. As an interesting annecdote, when their contemporary Thomas Hearne produced paintings of "The Improved Landscape" and "The Unimproved Landscape" that were engraved for Richard Payne Knight's book "The Landscape: a didactic poem in three books addressed to Uvedale Price Esq. 1794", his example of the unimproved landscape was based exactingly off of George Smith's Premium Painting of 1760, copying not only scale and perspective, but every hill, the bend in the river, most trees, placements of his bridge, estate and even a notable rock in the stream.


  • Goodwood, a Catalogue Raisonne, William Hayley Mason, p. 99, ref. 132
  • For an example of the William Woollett engraving of "Second Premium", see The British Museum, acc. no S,1.46
  • For an example of "Second Premium" attributed to John Smith of Chichester in smaller format executed in oil on copper, see Sotheby's, New York, 27 January 2017, sale no. N09600, lot 492
  • For a plate of "Second Premium" in the Goodwood Collection, see The Smith Brothers of Chichester, Pallant House, 1986, p. 76-77, pl. 19


  • With Richard Feigen & Co (according to label verso)

Measurements: 34 1/2" H x 58 1/2" W [canvas]; 44" H x 67 5/8" W x 2" D [frame]

Condition Report:
Professionally cleaned and conserved: wax emulsion used to remove grime from the surface, varnish removed, inpainting performed where necessary (four spots in upper right corner trees, scattered specks throughout the sky, overpaint removed just beneath centermost cloud and more appropriately recompleted, vertical line of inpainting at upper edge in center of sky, spot of touchup left of the group of figures in lower left quadrant), and traditional damar varnish applied to seal the surface. Older spots of overpaint in upper left quadrant, including several spots along the edge in the sky and a few in the foliage. Some underlying opaqueness to the oils, particularly in the bottom of the painting and in the darker colors. Extensive scattered craquelure throughout. Frame with abrasions and losses, overall a very nice presentation.