John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) and his Countess Anne (1649-1703), greatly admired the work of Monnot (1657-1733), which they saw in Rome during their journey of 1699-1700 .
On this, the last of their Grand Tours, the couple posed for Monnot, who executed their portrait busts. They also purchased several other pieces of his work, including this sculpture of a sleeping child, which is 52cm wide.
Monnot produced the couple’s tomb monument, which was installed, perhaps somewhat earlier than they might have expected, in the family chapel at the church of St Martin’s, Stamford in 1704.
The 1763 Burghley Inventory records: ‘the dining room, 4 George room……Child sleep’g by Pet’r Monot of Besancon white marble’.