'La Cassetta di Lucia', near Bonacina, Lecco, ItalyArtist:
, British, 1852 - 1917
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Frame: 414 x 450 x 20mm
Sight size: 180 x 220mm
Accession Number: CGSG00124
The 'Casetta di Lucia' (Lucia’s cottage) is named after the fictional heroine of the novel, 'I Promessi Sposi' (The Betrothed) which is set in Lecco. Randal has in fact mis-identified the building and tourists celebrated a quite different house as the ‘Casetta di Lucia’. Postcards from the late 1800s show it to be a larger building built around a courtyard.
Randal was in Lecco painting views for John Ruskin. This building, with its crumbing exterior seems to support Ruskin’s description of villas in this area: 'almost all the buildings on the lake shore are built [from black limestone]; and, therefore, were their material unconcealed, would be of a dark monotonous and melancholy grey tint, equally uninteresting to the eye, and depressing to the mind. To prevent this result, they are covered with different compositions, sometimes white, more frequently cream-coloured, and of varying depth.'
The landscape around the villa also echoes another passage from the book describing the local countryside: 'festoons of the luxuriant vine, purple with ponderous clusters, trailed and trellised between and over them… guides the eye away to the unfailing wall of mountain.'