Valley of the Mawddach and Cader Idris
The scene is dominated by Cader Idris mountain, about six miles south west of Wilson’s viewpoint. The town of Dolgellau is hidden by the bank on the right of the view and the house of Gelli-gemlyn is visible in the valley. This is a less grand work than Snowdon. The river winds pleasingly through the picture, the light is warmer and more capricious, creating effects of silhouette, highlight and shadow, and the land-masses are more gradual, less dramatic. The effect of the picture, to use the categories of landscape in vogue during the late 18th century, is less sublime than picturesque. This is one of Wilson’s last great works. When he painted it, he was beginning to suffer from the alcoholism which ended his career in obscurity and poverty.