Lot 166
  • 166

FRANCESCO SOLIMENA | Personification of Charity, a bozzetto

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Francesco Solimena
  • Personification of Charity, a bozzetto
  • oil on canvas
  • 19 3/8  by 30 1/2  in.; 49.2 by 77.5 cm.


Almost certainly acquired by Sir Hugh Cholmley, 4th Bt. (1632 - 1688);
Thence by descent at Whitby, through his only daughter Mary (1667 - 1748), wife of Nathaniel Cholmley;
Their son Hugh Cholmley, married to Catherine Wentworth, heiress to the Howsham estate, in 1741;
Thence by descent. The contents of Howsham Hall were sold in 1948, and the pictures were subsequently on loan (see Exhibited);
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 2 April 1976, lot 4;
With Simon Dickinson, London, 1998;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 17 December 1999, lot 61 (£34,500);
Anonymous sale, New York, Christie's, 6 June 2012, lot 94;
There acquired.


York, City Art Gallery, 1948;
Whitby Museum, 1954;
Mexico City, Chapultepec Castle, an exhibition devoted to this series of paintings, 1954;
Mexico City, the British Embassy, on loan 1954 - 1976.


H. Strickland, Catalogue of the Pictures at Howsham, 1852, mss., recorded on the staircase;
A. Oswald, "Howsham Hall - II", in Country Life, vol. LXXVII, 1935, pp. 221-223;
Los Pinceles de la Historia. El Origen del Reino de la Nueva España, 1680-1750, exhibition catalogue, Mexico City 1999, pp. 87-90;
N. Spinosa, Pittura del Seicento a Napoli da Mattia Preti a Luca Giordano. Natura in posa, Naples 2011, p. 232, no. 211;
S. Carotenuto, Francesco Solimena: Dall'attività giovanile agli anni della maturità (1674 - 1710), Rome 2015, p. 205, reproduced in color p. 207, figure 5.10;
N. Spinosa, Francesco Solimena (1657 - 1747) e le Arti a Napoli, Rome 2018, pp. 240-1, no. 72b, reproduced p. 241 in color.

Catalogue Note

This canvas functioned as a bozzetto for one of Solimena's eight Theological Virtues, painted in fresco for the Church of Santa Maria di Donnalbina, Naples at the end of the 17th century. A bozzetto for Faith, with the same illusionistic niche behind the female figure, is in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.1 The rest of the decorative project involved a cupola fresco of Paradise and the Vision of St. Benedict, as well as six large scenes from the Life of the Virgin on canvas for the church crossing. 1. Solimena, Personification of Faith, circa 1725-30, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, inv. no. M.1979.57.P