Sir Charles Henry Tempest (1834-1894), Broughton Hall, Yorkshire;
By descent to his daughter Ethel Tempest, who married Miles Stapleton (1850-1895), 10th Lord Beaumont in 1893;
Thence by direct family descent.
This large canvas, one of Wolfaerts' most impressive, was unknown to Prof. Hans Vlieghe when publishing his article on the artist in 19771 and it represents an important addition to Wolfaerts' oeuvre. This painting and two further versions of the composition, one in the church of St. Martin, Bergues, and the other in the Gemaldegalerie, Kassel (now considered a copy),2 have previously been attributed to Rubens' master, Otto van Veen (1556-1629). The composition itself is loosely derived, in reverse, from Rubens' work of the same subject in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.3
After having spent the first years of his life in Dordrecht, Wolfaerts became a Master of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1616/7 during which time he was living and working with Otto van Veen. Wolfaerts was subsequently head of an important studio who supplied major religious and other institutions with altarpieces and the present work was almost certainly originally intended for one such institution.
1. H. Vlieghe, 'Zwischen van Veen und Rubens: Artus Wolffort (1581-1641), ein vergessener Antwerpener Maler' in: Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, vol. XXX1X, 1977.
2. See B. Schnackenburg, Staatliche Museen Kassel. Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister Gesamtkatalog, vol. I, Mainz 1996, pp. 327-8, reproduced vol. II, plate 56.
3. See N. Gritsay and N. Babina, State Hermitage Museum Catalogue. Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Flemish Painting, New Haven & London 2008, pp. 245-8, no. 306, reproduced p. 245.
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