Oil on canvas, 85.5cm by 68.5cm.
John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), is thought to have purchased this painting in about 1681, whilst on the Grand Tour.
A courtier at the Grand Ducal Court in Florence was reported by the earl’s steward, Culpepper Tanner to have ‘told my Lord of a Coppie of the adoration done by Carlo Dulce which if itt Cannot be done by the time his Lordship desires may be done and Sentt after by some opportunity.’
The painting appears in the 1688 Burghley Inventory: ‘My Ladyes Clossett…. 6 pictures in Ebbony fframes (viz) ‘The adoration, a St Sebastian, a young Christ’s head, St Johns head in a Charger, the flight into Egypt, ye Nativity in litle_} by Carlo Dulci.’
The Florentine-born Dolci’s extraordinary technical skill was highly regarded and his work much sought after by collectors.
The 5th Earl bought at least eight paintings from the artist.