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The Madonna and Child

Master of the Johnson Nativity (fl.1450-1499)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1470 - 1499

Materials

Oil on panel (poplar)

Measurements

759 x 524 mm (29 7/8 x 20 5/8 in)

Place of origin

Florence

Order this image

Collection

Upton House, Warwickshire

NT 446809

Summary

Oil painting on poplar panel, The Madonna and Child, Master of the Johnson Nativity (fl.1450-1499). The Madonna stands almost three-quarter length before a concave architectural throne of pink stone, with Corinthian pilasters and scarlet frieze and with the tops of cypress trees seen beyond; she wears a pale red dress, dark blue-green robe edged with gold and mauve headdress, and looks down at the Child whom she holds in her arms.

Provenance

Charles Somers Somers-Cocks, Viscount Eastnor, 3rd Earl Somers (1819-1883) at Eastnor Castle or Reigate Priory - may have been among the pictures he bought in Italy during the second half of the 19th century; according to Knoedler, who acquired the picture from Robert Langton Douglas (1864 - 1951) in 1918, it had formed the altarpiece of the chapel at Duxhurst, Reigate, the industrial farm colony for female inebriates founded by Lady Isabella Caroline Somers-Cocks, Lady Somerset (1851-1921) (daughter of 3rd Earl of Somers), who had removed the picture from Eastnor Castle or Reigate Priory for this purpose. [The polychrome sculpted wood figures of the Virgin and St John standing beneath the Crucified Christ on top of the chancel screen in St Michael & All Angels, Berwick, East Sussex, that form part of the extraordinary World War II decoration of that church by Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell, likewise came from this chapel]; sold to raise money for the female inebriates of Reigate by Lady Henry Somerset; resold by Knoedler to Lord Bearsted in July 1922 for £1,500; given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948) shortly before his death in 1948

Credit line

Upton House, The Bearsted Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Master of the Johnson Nativity (fl.1450-1499), artist previously catalogued as school of Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence 1435 - Venice 1488), artist previously catalogued as school of Alessio Baldovinetti (Florence 1425 – Florence 1499), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Master of San Miniato (fl.1460-1480), artist

Exhibition history

New Light on Old Masters, Squash Court Gallery, 2013

References

Marle 1929 - 36 R. van Marle, Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, The Hague, 1929; 1936, vol. XI, p. 568, fig. 346 Berenson, 1963: Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Florentine School, 2 vols., London, 1963, vol. I, p. 147 Fahy 1966 Everett Fahy, 'Some notes on the Stratonice Master', Paragone, Anno XVII, no.197/17, July 1966, p.28, n.2)

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