Countess Ebba Sparre
oil on canvas
106.1 x 90.2 cm (41 3/4 x 35 1/2 in)
Probably commissioned by Christina, Queen of Sweden [1626-1689], Stockholm, Antwerp, and inventoried 1656 amongst her goods to be sent to Rome;  by inheritance to Cardinal Decio Azzolini [1623-1689], Rome; by inheritance to his nephew, Marchese Pompeo Azzolini [d. 1696], Rome; sold 1696 to Principe Livio Odescalchi, Duke Bracciano [1652-1713], Rome; by inheritance to his nephew, Baldassare Odescalchi-Erba [d. 1746]; sold 1721 through Pierre Crozat [1665-1740] to Philippe II, duc d'Orléans [1674-1723], Paris; by inheritance to his son, Louis, duc d'Orléans [1703-1752], Paris; by inheritance to his son, Louis Philippe, duc d'Orléans [1725-1785], Paris; by inheritance to his son, Louis Philippe Joseph, duc d'Orléans [1747-1793], Paris; sold 1791 with the French and Italian paintings of the Orléans collection, which figure as a group in the next three sales, to Edouard, vicomte Walkuers [or Walquers], Brussels; sold 1792 to his cousin, François Louis Joseph, comte Laborde de Méréville [d. 1801], Paris and London; on consignment until 1798 with (Jeremiah Harman, London); sold 1798 through (Michael Bryan, London) to a consortium of Francis Egerton, 3rd duke of Bridgewater [1736-1803], London and Worsley Hall, Lancashire, Frederick Howard, 5th earl of Carlisle [1748-1825], Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, and George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st duke of Sutherland [1758-1833], London, Trentham Hall, Stafford, and Dunrobin Castle, Highland, Scotland.  (Orléans Collection sale [French and Italian paintings], Coxe, Burrell and Foster, London, 14 February 1800, no. 11, as The Portrait of the Queen of Sweden). John Maitland [d. 1831], London, Loughton Hall, Essex, and Woodford Hall, Essex; (his estate sale, Christie & Manson, London, 30 July 1831, no. 14, as Portrait of Christina, Queen of Sweden); Joseph Neeld [d. 1856], Grittleton House, Wiltshire; by inheritance to his brother, Sir John Neeld, 1st bt. [1805-1891], Grittleton House; by inheritance to his son, Sir Algernon William Neeld, 2nd bt. [1846-1900], Grittleton House; by inheritance to his brother, Sir Audley Dallas Neeld, 3rd bt. [1849-1941], Grittleton House; by inheritance to Joseph Neeld's descendant through an illegitimate daughter, Lionel William [Inigo-Jones] Neeld [d. 1956], Grittleton House; (Neeld sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 13 July 1945, no. 52, as Portrait of Christina of Sweden); purchased by Kaye.  (Wildenstein & Co., Paris, New York, and London); sold 1947 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 to NGA.  The painting also appeared in the Queen's 1662 inventory of her belongings in Rome, and in the inventory taken 1689, the year of both her death and that of Cardinal Azzolino, to whom her paintings were bequeathed. On the history of Christina's collection, see Baron Carl Nils Daniel Bildt, "Queen Christina's Pictures," The Nineteenth Century 56 (1904): 99-1003, and Christina, Queen of Sweden: A Personality of European civilization, Exh. cat., Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 1966.  Provenance provided by Wildenstein to the Kress Foundation. For details about the sale of the Orléans collection, see William Buchanan, Memoirs of Painting with a Chronological History of the Importation of Pictures by the Great Masters into England since the French Revolution, 2 vols., London, 1824: 1:1-216; Denys Sutton, "Aspects of British Collecting, Part III. XII: The Orléans Collection," Apollo (May 1984): 357-372; and Jordana Pomeroy, "The Orléans Collection: Its impact on the British art world," Apollo (February 1997): 26-31. Jeremiah Harman was head of a London banking house and had his own collection of paintings that was auctioned after his death in 1844.  Neeld's purchase at the Maitland sale is according to an annotated auction catalogue at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and the painting is recorded in a 1913 manuscript copy of an 1851 manuscript catalogue of the Neeld collection (see letter from Martha Hepworth of the Getty Provenance Index dated 13 March 1986 in NGA curatorial files). In a letter of 20 January 1969 to Colin Eisler (copy in NGA curatorial files), the dealer David M. Koetser writes that among the paintings he sold to the Kress Foundation was "...indirectly...Sebastian Bourdon's 'Queen Christina'." It is possible that "Kaye" was a pseudonym used by Koetser at the 1945 sale, and that he was buying for the Foundation.