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Veronese Workshop (Possibly Benedetto Caliari)
Saint Jerome in the Wilderness

c. 1575/1585
oil on canvas
108 x 84.1 cm (42 1/2 x 33 1/8 in)
Peter Lely [1618-1680], London; (his estate sale, at his residence, Covent Garden, 18 April 1682, fifth item on list); [1] purchased by Anthony Grey, 11th earl of Kent [1645-1702]; [2] by descent in his family to Thomas Philip Robinson, 2nd earl De Grey of Wrest and 5th baron Lucas of Crudwell [1781-1859], Wrest Park, Ampthill, Bedfordshire; [3] by descent in his family to Nan Ino Herbert Cooper, 10th baroness Lucas of Crudwell [1880-1958], The Hall, Horsey, Norfolk, and Struy Lodge, Beauly, Highland, Scotland; (Lucas sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 16 November 1917, no. 123); purchased by Smith. Freiherr Detlev von Hadeln [1878-1935], Venice. (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence); sold 1954 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; [4] gift 1961 to NGA. [1] The presence of the painting in this sale was brought to Fern Rusk Shapley's attention by Ellis Waterhouse (see his letter of 5 March 1959, in NGA curatorial files). The original sale catalogue consisted of a folded sheet of three closely printed pages, with no numbers assigned to the items in the lists; the sale consisted of paintings by artists other than Lely, drawings and pictures by Lely, and copies after Lely. The NGA painting is the fifth item on the first of these lists, described as "of Paul Veronese, St. Jerome, a whole figure with a Landskip [sic]," measuring in length 3 feet 6 inches and in "bredth [sic]" 2 feet 9 inches. See Brian Fairfax, A Catalogue of the Curious Collection of Pictures of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham…also A Catalogue of Sir Peter Lely’s Capital Collection of Pictures…, London, 1758: 40, no. 5 (Fairfax numbered the lists); Charles Henry Collins Baker, Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters: A Study of English Portraiture before & after Van Dyck, 2 vols., London, 1912-1913: 2:144; "Editorial: Sir Peter Lely's Collection," The Burlington Magazine 83, no. 485 (August 1943): 185-188; Ellis K. Waterhouse, “A Note on British Collecting of Italian Pictures in the Seventeenth Century,” The Burlington Magazine 102 (1960): 54. In support of the identification is the exact correspondence of the dimensions (42 by 33 inches), and the account of the provenance published in 1834 (see note 3). [2] Kent is listed as the purchaser in the account book of Lely’s executors. See Diana Dethloff, “The Dispersal of Sir Peter Lely’s Collection,” Journal of the History of Collections 8 (1996): 18, 27. The full line of descent in his family is recorded in NGA curatorial files. [3] As pointed out by Burton Fredericksen (message to Peter Humfrey, 7 October 2008), the picture appears as no. 116 in the catalogue of Earl De Grey’s collection, published in 1834, Catalogue of Pictures belonging to Thomas Philip Earl de Grey, at his house in St. James's Square. The entry states that the picture had been purchased at the Lely sale by the Earl of Kent. [4] On 7 June 1954 the Kress Foundation made an offer to Contini-Bonacossi for 16 paintings, including the NGA painting which was listed as St. Jerome. In a draft of one of the documents prepared for the count's signature in connection with the offer this painting is described as one "which came from my personal collection in Florence." The count accepted the offer on 30 June 1954; the final payment for the purchase was ultimately made in early 1957, after the count's death in 1955. (See copies of correspondence in NGA curatorial files.)
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