tempera on poplar panel
139.1 x 67.3 cm (54 3/4 x 26 1/2 in)
Sir Francis Baring, 1st Bt. [1740-1810], London;  (sale, Christie's, London, 15 March 1805, no. 51, as by Francesco di Ladi);  (Thomas Winstanley, Liverpool); William Roscoe [1753-1831], Liverpool, by 1813, sold before 1816.  Private collection, England. (sale, Robinson, Fisher & Harding, London, 27 November 1924, no. 99, as St. Francis by C. Crivelli).  Art market, London, by 1933.  (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence);  purchased July 1948 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;  gift 1952 to NGA.  On this collector, see Francis Haskell, Rediscoveries in art: some aspects of taste, fashion, and collecting in England and France, Ithaca, 1976: 72.  Burton Fredericksen (in The Index of paintings sold in the British Isles during the nineteenth century, 4 vols. Santa Barbara, 1988: 1:49, 295) established the painting's ownership, which is not specified in the sale catalogue, on the basis of an annotated copy of the catalogue in the files of Christie's in London.  See Michael Compton, "William Roscoe and Early Collectors of Italian Primitives," Liverpool Bulletin 9 (1960-1961): 47. Hugh Macandrew (letter of 11 September 1961 to William Campbell, in NGA curatorial files) transcribes a description of the painting in Roscoe's hand from a manuscript catalogue of his collection (Roscoe Papers, Liverpool Library, 3897).  Everett Fahy (his letter of 19 November 1984 in NGA curatorial files) called attention to a Cooper negative of the painting in the Frick Art Reference Library in New York; the photograph, taken on the occasion of the sale in 1924 in London, shows the painting dirty and with a check running vertically through the figure, but otherwise with an aspect not unlike the present one.  According to Evelyn Sandberg-Vavalà, "Francesco Benaglio," Art in America 21 (1933): 62-63.  By April 1948 (the date of Roberto Longhi's expertise, copy in NGA curatorial files), the panel must already have been with Contini-Bonacossi, for whom Longhi wrote his opinion in Italian (his expertises for the Kress Foundation are usually in English).  The Kress Foundation made an offer to Contini-Bonacossi on 7 June 1948 for a group of twenty-eight paintings, including the Benaglio; the offer was accepted on 11 July 1948 (see copies of correspondence in NGA curatorial files).