Erminia and the Shepherds, by Filippo Lauri (1623-1694).

Oil on copper, 30.5cm by 40.5cm. Signed: F.L. and inscribed on the reverse Lauro.

This painting was purchased from the artist, in Rome in 1684, by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) for the sum of 100 Crowns.

The earl had met Lauri in Rome that year, whilst on his second Grand Tour, and he was to become one of the earl’s favourite artists, from whom he bought several paintings.

The subject is taken from the epic poem, ‘Jerusalem Delivered’, by Torquato Tasso (1544-95), which was published in 1581 and became a ‘bestseller’ of its time.

Filippo Lauri, the son of a Flemish landscape painter, was born in Rome, where he remained active for most of his life; amongst other things, frequently painting small-scale figures in the canvasses of Claude Lorraine.


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