National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Tobias and the Angel Filippino Lippi (painter)
Florentine, 1457 - 1504
Tobias and the Angel, c. 1475/1480
oil and tempera on poplar panel
painted surface: 32.7 x 23.5 cm (12 7/8 x 9 1/4 in.) overall: 34.45 x 25.4 cm (13 9/16 x 10 in.) framed: 47.6 x 38.1 x 5.7 cm (18 3/4 x 15 x 2 1/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
On View
From the Tour: Patrons and Artists in Late 15th-Century Florence
Object 8 of 8


Alexander Barker [d. 1873], London, by 1868;[1] (his sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 19-21 June 1879, 3rd day, no. 498, as by A. Pollaiuolo); (Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London); presumably Colonel William Cornwallis-West; (his sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 23 April 1887, no. 78, as by Antonio Pollaiuolo);[2] purchased by (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London and New York) for Robert Henry [1850-1929] and Evelyn Holford [1856-1943] Benson, London and Buckhurst Park, Sussex; sold 1927 with the Benson collection to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York);[3] sold May 1936 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[4] gift 1939 to NGA.

[1] The painting is listed as the property of Alexander Barker in the catalogue of the National Exhibition in Leeds, held in 1868. Since, on the other hand, it is not mentioned by Gustav Waagen in his descriptions of the Barker collection (Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols, London, 1854: 2:125; Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, 1857: 71-79), it may have been acquired only after 1857. On Alexander Barker, see John Fleming, "Art Dealing in the Risorgimento. Part 2," The Burlington Magazine 121, no. 917 (August 1979): 505-506.

[2] Fern Rusk Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols., Washington, D.C., 1979: 1:259 n. 4. The Getty Provenance Index provides the information that the seller, unidentified in the sale catalogue, was presumably Cornwallis-West. Robert Henry Benson's notes on the painting's history (transcript provided in 1976 by his grandson, Peter Wake, and in NGA curatorial files) read: "Bought at Christie's for about 275 Pounds -in the same sale was a Signorelli 'Christ in the House of Simon' (?). I wanted both, but Henry Doyle, then director of the Irish National Gallery came up and proposed that we should not oppose each other and if I would give up bidding for the Signorelli, he would not oppose me for the Filippino - I was miserable at losing the Signorelli until Fairfax Murray got me the 'Madonna of the Casa Tommassi' on a gold ground from Cortona."

[3] The sale of this well-known collection caused an enormous stir; see for example Tancred Borenius, "The Benson Collection," Apollo 6 (1927): 65-70; Frank E. Washburn Freund, "Die Sammlung Benson," Der Cicerone 19 (1927): 495-502.

[4] The Duveen Brothers letter confirming the sale of thirteen paintings and one sculpture, including NGA 1939.1.229, is dated 18 May 1936; the provenance is given as "Benson Coll'n" (copy in NGA curatorial files; Box 474, Folder 5, Duveen Brothers Records, accession number 960015, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

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