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Oil painting - Mendicants of the Roman Campagna
  • Mendicants of the Roman Campagna
    Rippingille, Edward Villiers
  • Enlarge image

Mendicants of the Roman Campagna

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rippingille, Edward Villiers (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case WS

Object Type
Oil paintings depicting the Italian and Swiss countryside grew in popularity in the first half of the 19th century. They appealed particularly to collectors such as John Sheepshanks (1787-1863) and the Reverend Chauncey Hare Townshend (1798-1868).

Subject Depicted
Italy had long been recognised as a fertile source of themes for paintings and many artists travelled there in the 19th century. Italian beggars or 'mendicants' of the Roman Campagna (the countryside around Rome) looked very picturesque in the eyes of British artists, especially if the Italians were young, female and pretty, as here. Their colourful costumes and the beauty of the Italian countryside made a most attractive subject, especially as the darker aspects of poverty were not shown.

Rippingille exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy in 1844. According to a note on the back of the picture, he was furious to find that it was hung by the organisers virtually at floor level, so that the public were unlikely to see it. Nevertheless, John Sheepshanks noticed it and bought it directly from the artist. Rippingille claimed to be the first person to advocate the establishment of the Schools of Design.

Physical description

Oil painting entitled 'Mendicants of the Campagna' depicting two women and a child, mendicants or beggars, reclining in the setting of a classical ruin.


1840 (made)


Rippingille, Edward Villiers (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'E V Rippingille ROMA 1840/London 1844
Signed and dated by the artist on stone, lower left


Height: 36.8 cm estimate, Width: 57.3 cm estimate

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857. By Edward Villiers Rippingille (probably born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, 1798, died in Swan village, Staffordshire, 1859)

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'Mendicants of the Campagna' by Edward Villers Rippingille. British School, 1840.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 250

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Before he moved to London in 1832, Edward Rippingille had been the most prominent painter in Bristol, although he never achieved great recognition in the capital. His ambitious nature led him to travel to Germany, France and Italy, where he worked between 1837 and 1841 producing paintings in the picturesque Italian style seen in this work. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

dated 1840


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Beggar; Charity


British Galleries; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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