The Virgin and Child with St. Joseph, Italian School, 17th Century.

Oil on bloodstone with bevelled edges, rectangular with deep cut corners, in a pierced gilt-metal frame decorated with scrolls and flowers and with a string tie surmount, width 9.8cm.

The artist who painted these beautiful miniatures is unknown, but they were purchased on one of the first two Grand Tours taken by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) and his Countess Anne, who seems to have particularly liked small religious paintings. There were many later recorded in her private apartments and members of the party accompanying them on the early Grand Tours recorded several visits to religious sites.
This miniature and its pair (MIN0070), were recorded in the 1688 Burghley Inventory: “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 —–“.

REFERENCE: MIN0069

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