Oil on canvas, 244cm by 178cm.
It seems likely that the painting was purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter whilst on the Grand Tour.
The 1738 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The Salutation of the Virgin Mary, she at Prayers, a Book in her Hand, the Angel Stepping out of the Cloud with a Lily in his Hand, the Dove descending, Angels and Cherubims in the Clouds, 7 1/2 Foot long, 5 Foot wide.’
The 1763 Inventory records it as ‘by Carlo Maratti’ who was one of the 5th Earl’s favourite artists.
Marcantonio Franceschini worked mainly in his native Bologna where many artists and pupils were employed in his prolific studio.
He has been referred to as ‘the Bolognese Maratta.’