Lot 23
  • 23


60,000 - 80,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Bartolomeo Schedoni
  • The Holy Family
  • oil on panel


Hugh A.J. Munro of Novar (1797–1864); His deceased sale, London, Christie's, 1 June 1878, lot 103, where acquired by Bohn;

Private collection, Italy.


G. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain..., vol. II, London 1854, p. 135; W. Frost, A.R.A. (revised by H. Reeve), A complete catalogue of the paintings, water-colour drawings, drawings, and prints, in the collection of the late Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro, Esq., of Novar: at the time of his death deposited in his house, no. 6 Hamilton Place, London: with some additional paintings at Novar, privately printed 1865, p. 14 (as Schidone [sic]; The Holy Family, Joseph at work);

N. Roio and E. Negro, Bartolomeo Schedoni, Modena 2000, p. 118, cat. no. 129P, (as untraced).

Catalogue Note

This rediscovered little panel is characteristic of Schedoni's intimate scenes which depict the Holy Family. The dimensions of the work suggest it was painted as a private commission for a collector, most likely a cultured lover of the arts for the subject matter is interpreted in an unusual form and represents a satisfying development from the more traditional depictions of the theme. In a quiet interior, the Virgin is busy sewing, the thread from her needle still visible, with the Christ Child beside her. Beyond them a stream makes its way down a rocky background. Joseph, so often a peripheral character in this type of scene is instead shown here in the very foreground, plying his trade as a carpenter, but also metaphorically preparing the Cross on which Christ would later redeem mankind's sins. The importance accorded to the figure of Joseph suggests the patron may have been called Giuseppe, sharing his name with Jesus' adopted father. Stylistically this rapidly-executed panel should perhaps be dated to the artist's maturity when he was working at the court of Duke Ranuccio Farnese in Parma. The model used for the figure of Joseph, bald and ruddy-skinned, recurs throughout his career, including in another intimate panel, depicting the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, sold Sotheby's, New York, 26 January 2012, lot 36, for $660,000. The other version of that panel, in the Galleria di Capodimonte in Naples, was also painted while the artist worked for the Farnese family in Parma.

Gustav Waagen, the great commentator of collections in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century, described the painting thus when he saw it in the collection of Hugh Munro of Novar, the important patron of Turner: 'Schidone [sic]... The Holy Family, treated as a domestic subject in common life. The Virgin is sewing, Joseph carpentering. Very powerful in colour, and as finished as a miniature'.

We are grateful to Professor Daniele Benati, Dottor Emilio Negro and Dottoressa Nicosetta Roio for independently endorsing the attribution on the basis of a digital image.