Lot 4
  • 4

School of Bruges, Early 16th Century

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • School of Bruges, Early 16th Century
  • The Adoration of the Shepherds
  • oil on panel
  • 35 3/4 x 31 inches


With Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin, 1922;
Acquired by Raul Edwards Mac-Clure (1880-1927);
Thence by descent to his daughter Carmen Edwards de Ferrari (1916-1996);
Thence by descent to her nephew;
By whom sold, ("Property from a Private Collection"), London, Sotheby's, 7 July 2005, lot 110, for £70,000 (as School of Bruges, early 16th century);
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 27 April 2007, lot 14, for £34,000 (as School of Bruges, early 16th century);
Private collection, United Kingdom.


G. Marlier, Ambrosius Benson et la peinture à Bruges au temps de Charles-Quint, Damme 1957, p. 287, cat. no. 22 (as Ambrosius Benson and Studio).


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work on oak panel is made from three sections of wood joined vertically. The joins have been reinforced on the reverse with horsehair and hide glue, which seems to still be effective. The panel shows a slight curve from left to right. The painting has fairly recently been cleaned and restored. The retouches are well applied. They seem to be applied quite consistently in small spots throughout the picture, but some areas, such as the faces, the figures on the right, the angels above and the figure playing the bagpipes on the left, are very well preserved. The Madonna has restorations in her neck. The condition is quite impressive overall, and the restoration is faithful and careful.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The Adoration of the Shepherds is a slightly larger variant of the central panel of a triptych recorded by Marlier as being in the Town Hall in Segovia (see Literature, pp. 280-281, cat. no. 2, reproduced pl. LIV).  Like the present work, he attributes the Segovia panel to Benson and studio.  Unlike the Spanish panel, the present work is a nocturne, which allows the artist to use different sources of light, both heavenly and terrestrial, to engage the viewer and explain the divine nature of the event.