National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Corinthian Maid Joseph Wright (artist)
British, 1734 - 1797
The Corinthian Maid, 1782-1784
oil on canvas
overall: 106.3 x 130.8 cm (41 7/8 x 51 1/2 in.) framed: 135.9 x 158.8 x 8.2 cm (53 1/2 x 62 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.)
Paul Mellon Collection
On View
From the Tour: British and American History Paintings of the 1700s
Object 7 of 8


Painted for Josiah Wedgwood [1730-1795], Etruria, Staffordshire.[1] John Greaves [b. 1793], Irlam Hall, near Manchester, by 1831.[2] Charles Meigh, Grove House, Shelton, Staffordshire; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 21-22 June 1850, 1st day, no. 108, bought in); (Anon. [Meigh] sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, 18 June 1859, no. 202); purchased by John Bentley, Esq. [1797-1879], Birch House, near Bolton, Lancashire, and Portland Place, London; his estate; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 15 May 1886, no. 72); purchased by (McLean).[3] William Bemrose;[4] by descent to Colonel W. Wright-Bemrose, Littleover Hill, Derby. A. Ralph Robotham, The White House, Darley Abbey, Derby, by 1947;[5] sold to (Gooden & Fox, Ltd., London); purchased August 1962 by Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia; gift 1983 to NGA.

[1] Martha Hepworth, of the Getty Provenance Index, in a letter of 23 August 1990 to Susan Davis (in NGA curatorial files), kindly provided the information that the Wedgwood family appears to have offered the painting in a number of private contract sales held at the European Museum in London. The painting, titled The Origin of Painting, is listed as no. 431 in the catalogue for April 1814, and as no. 98 in the catalogues for April 1817, March/May 1818, June 1818, March 1819, and May 1819 (copies of all are in NGA curatorial files). Hepworth explained that works featured in these "sales," for which new catalogues were printed periodically, were consigned by different sellers and remained on view in the museum until sold or reclaimed by their owners.

[2] Greaves lent the painting to the exhibition, Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch and English Masters, Royal Manchester Institution, 1831, no. 130.

[3] Probably Thomas McLean, London, the dealer, who dissolved his partnership in 1902 and sold his stock at Christie's, 15 November 1902 and 21 November 1903.

[4] Bemrose wrote The Life and Works of Joseph Wright, A.R.A., London, 1885.

[5] Robotham lent the painting to the exhibition, Joseph Wright of Derby 1734-1797, Derby Museums and Art Gallery; Leicester Museums and Art Gallery, 1947, no. 37.

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