Lot 42
  • 42

Follower of Antonio Allegri, called Correggio

6,000 - 8,000 GBP
8,125 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Antonio Allegri, called Correggio
  • La Zingarella
  • oil on panel, the reverse bearing James Irvine's wax seal with a bearded head in profile wearing a crown
  • 47.5 x 37.6 cm.; 18 3/4  x 14 7/8  in.


Giuseppe Moltini, Milan;
Acquired from the above by James Irvine on behalf of Sir William Forbes, 7th Bt. of Pitsligo (17731828), 18 July 1827, in Milan, for 135 Louis ('Zingarella after Correggio').

Catalogue Note

A period copy after Correggio’s original painting, also on panel and of the same dimensions, in the collection of the Museo e Gallerie Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples,1 so-called because of the Madonna's headdress which was commonly associated with gypsies. The present painting records the appearance of Correggio’s work before it was cleaned and restored in 1935 when many details, including the rabbit, left, the detailed forest floor foliage, and the palm leaves, upper right, were removed. All other contemporary copies likewise reproduce these now lost elements, confirming that if they were indeed revisions to the composition, they were in fact Correggio’s own.

James Irvine himself saw Correggio's original painting in Naples some time before 1797, and 'above thirty years' later described the present painting to Sir William as: '[...] beautiful and nearer the manner of Correggio than perhaps any copy I ever saw.'2 He came across the painting in Milan when taken by Giuseppe Molteni, a picture restorer, to see pictures belonging to 'a person who seems to have laid out more money than he could afford and now wishes to get some of it back. Among them I found the following, viz: The Zingarella or Mada del coniglio of Correggio, a very fine old copy - 200 Louis.'3 By the time Irvine wrote to Sir William only three weeks later he had evidently negotiated a discount, buying the picture for 135 Louis.

1. D. Ekserdjian, Correggio, New Haven and London 1997, p. 61, reproduced pre-restoration p. 62, fig. 59, and post restoration p. 62, fig. 58.
2. Letter from James Irvine to Sir William Forbes, Milan, 10 July 1827.
3. Letter from James Irvine to Sir William Forbes, Milan, 27 June 1827; he also bought Ludovico Mazzolino's Adoration of the Shepherds (sold in these rooms, 7 December 2016, lot 8, £200,000) from this collection through Molteni.