A pair of painted bloodstone octagonal panels, Italian, 17th Century.

One of these exquisite small paintings depicts The Flight into Egypt, the other, The Virgin and Child with St. Joseph.

Each is in a finely wrought gilt-brass frame crested by a double bow; each 12.5cm high.

They were purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), and Anne, his Countess (1649-1703), whilst on one of the first of their Grand Tours.

The Burghley Inventory of 1688 records: My Ladyes Closett…. 2 little peices painted upon bluod stones with guilt and wrought brasse frames (viz.) a Joseph & Mary, ye flight into Egypt by —–.’

The countess was particularly fond of small religious paintings, of which there were many recorded in her private apartments.


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