Rembrandt's immensely powerful compositional study for his early masterpiece, Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (1629), is one of only a tiny handful of the artist's drawings that can be clearly related to a painting, and is the most important early Rembrandt drawing to come on the market in a generation. Never before exhibited, it was previously only known to scholars through an early 20th-century facsimile. Representing a totally different aspect of Rembrandt's art, the delightful, intimate chalk drawing of A Street Musician dates from much later, in the 1650s. It is many years since two outstanding Rembrandt drawings have been offered in the same sale.
No less important is the extremely beautiful and newly discovered Rubens drawing of Venus nursing the Cupids, which the artist inscribed with a glowing personal dedication to the important Antwerp senator and patron, Paulus van Halmale. A 17th-century print and an 18th-century sale reference hinted that such a drawing might once have existed, but it was otherwise totally unrecorded.
Another highlight of what is one of the richest and most exciting Old Master Drawings sales for a number of years is the spectacular tapestry design by Raphael's most talented associate, Perino del Vaga. Another long-lost masterpiece, this magnificent drawing is the most complete surviving record of one of the most important early 16th-century Italian tapestry commissions, the series depicting The Loves of Jupiter, designed by Perino for the Genoese nobleman, Andrea Doria.
The French Huguenot exile, Isaac Oliver, is best known as a painter of portrait miniatures at the English royal court, so his unique, grand depiction of The Madonna and Child is revealing. Probably a royal commission, it is one of the artist's most ambitious works.