The Property of a Lady
WESTPHALIAN SCHOOL, CIRCA 1500
oil on panel
109.4 x 77 cm.; 43 x 30¼ in.
The panel is uncradled, formed of a single plank, which is very slightly bowed and stable. The reverse of the panel has been treated with a mixture of paint and fibres. Two old, repaired vertical splits run down from the centre of the upper margin, the longer measuring approx. 30 cm. Another repaired, vertical split runs up from the upper left corner to the end of the man's whip, as well as a shorter one to the left of this. A number of retouchings are visible to the naked eye apparently in response to historic flaking, most notably in the upper left corner, in the left-hand side of the vaulted ceiling, in the background to the left of Christ, through the face of the man in the green turban, and through the shoulder and hair of the left-most man. Inspection under ultraviolet light confirms all of these and further reveals an extensive campaign of retouching throughout the panel. The colours remain bright and the painting is ready to hang in its current state. In overall moderate 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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Dr Peter Hierzenberger, Vienna;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 4 April 1984, lot 8, for £10,000;
Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Gentleman'), London, Christie's, 11 December 1987, lot 24, where bought by the late husband of the present owner.
The figure of Pontius Pilate here derives from an engraving of 1480 by Martin Schongauer of Christ before Caiaphas.1 Dr Peter Hierzenberger owned an extensive collection of early German paintings and sculptures, many of which were sold in these Rooms in 1984 and 1987.
1 See J. Campbell Hutchinson, The Illustrated Bartsch. Martin Schongauer, Ludwig Schongauer, and Copyists. Early German artists. Commentary. 8. Part 1, Norwalk 1996, p. 83, cat. no. 11.