Lot 210
  • 210

Circle of Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
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  • Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael
  • Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
  • inscribed in an old hand on the reverse: GIO. FRANCESCO. PENNI. DETTO./ IL. FATTORE.
  • oil on panel, arched top, set into a rectangular panel


Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa di Borbone, Princess of Naples and Duchesse de Berry (1798-1870), her red-wax seals and stencilled coronet on the reverse of the panel;
Her sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 19 April 1865, lot 117 (as 'PENNI (Francesco)).


The painting is richer in colour and warmer in tone than the catalogue illustration would suggest. The picture is painted on a single flat arch topped panel set into a rectangular panel which has four horizontal old cracks running along the reverse, but being a separate panel none of these are visible in the paint surface. The paint surface appears to be in good overall condition with no apparent damage or loss of paint except for a minor old repaired vertical split running from the top of the arch through the Virgin's face and stopping at the lamb's snout as can be seen in the catalogue illustration. There is a thin spidery craquelure which corresponds to the vertical grain of the front panel and there appears to be a yellow varnish overall. Examination under ultraviolet confirms the presence of the varnish and reveals old retouching to the arched panel edge. There is also retouching to the aforementioned repaired split and elsewhere there is retouching to the darker pigments however this appears to be scattered, minor and cosmetic. Offered in a gilt wood punch work frame in very good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

While the painting betrays a stong knowledge of raphaelesque compositions, the design is original and points to an independent artist continuing to work in Raphael's style in the 1520s.

The Duchesse de Berry was one of the most celebrated ladies of the nineteenth century. She was the daughter of Francesco I, King of the Two Sicilies, and in 1816 married her cousin, Charles Ferdinand de Bourbon, Duc de Berry, the son of the future King Charles X of France. Left a widow when her husband was assassinated in February 1820, the Duchesse gave birth the following September to her only son, Henri Duc de Bordeaux, Comte de Chambord, the last legitimate claimant to the throne of France (sometimes known as Henri V). After the overthrow of her father-in-law in 1830 she went into exile. Returning to France secretly in 1832, she attempted to win the throne for her son, and was subsequently imprisoned. However, when it became obvious that she was pregnant, she was forced to reveal her secret marriage to an Italian noble, Ettore Carlo, Conte Lucchesi Palli, Duca della Grazia (1806-1864), by whom she had issue.1 Her second marriage alienated her royalist supporters, and the government of Louis-Philippe d'Orléans (ruled 1830-1848) finally released her. She lived for a time in Vienna and then settled in the Castle of Brünnsee, near Graz, in the Austrian state of Styria, where she died on April 17, 1870. In 1844, she and her husband had purchased the beautiful palazzo Ca' Vendramin Calergi on the Grand Canal in Venice from the last member of the Vendramin family line. In the turmoil of the Risorgimento, she was forced to sell the palazzo to her grandson, Prince Henry, Count of Bardi, and many of its works of art were auctioned in Paris.

1. Lucchesi Palli's red-wax seals are also affixed to the reverse.