National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Peter and Saint Paul Domenico di Bartolo (artist)
Sienese, c. 1400 - 1447
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint Peter and Saint Paul, c. 1430
tempera (?) on panel
overall: 53 x 31 cm (20 7/8 x 12 3/16 in.) framed: 56.5 x 33.7 x 6 cm (22 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 2 3/8 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Not on View
From the Tour: Siena in the 1400s
Object 1 of 7


Possibly George Ashburnham, 3rd earl of Ashburnham [1760-1830], Florence and Ashburnham Place, Battle, Sussex;[1] by inheritance to his son, Bertram Ashburnham, 4th earl of Ashburnham [1797-1878], Ashburnham Place;[2] by inheritance to his son, Bertram Ashburnham, 5th earl of Ashburnham [1840-1913], Ashburnham Place; by inheritance to his daughter, Lady Mary Catherine Charlotte Ashburnham [d. 1953], Ashburnham Place;[3] (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York), by 1919;[4] sold 1944 to the Samuel H. Kress Collection, New York;[5] gift 1961 to NGA.

[1] It is known that the third earl lived for some time in the "Villa Pasquale" near Florence, which in the 18th century belonged to the Pasquali family and can probably be identified with the place now called Villa di Quarto. No record of his collecting activities is known, but some of the 15th century paintings in the collection are described in a manuscript inventory of 1878 as coming "from Villa Pasquale"; see The Ashburnham Collections. Part I. Catalogue of Paintings and Drawings..., Sotheby's, London, 24 June 1953: 3-4.

[2] The fourth earl was one of the most famous English collectors of his century. His interests were chiefly in collecting manuscripts and incunabula (see A.N.L. Munby, Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures, 1750-1850, Oxford, 1972: 120-138), but he also bought paintings. After his death, so far as it is known, the collecting activities of the family stopped (see The Ashburnham Collections... 1953: 4). Although Gustav Friedrich Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols., London, 1854: 3:27, believed that most of the paintings belonging to the family were sold at auction in 1850, actually many of them were bought in and remained in the collection until 1953.

[3] During the fifth earl's lifetime the library was sold, and there was also an important picture sale on 13 July 1901 at Christie's in London. Some pictures were also sold by private treaty (see The Ashburnham Collections... 1953: 4).

[4] An expertise by Osvald Sirén, dated 25 July 1919 (copy in NGA curatorial files), states that the painting at that time was already with Duveen Brothers. Probably the latter acquired it from the fifth earl's daughter, Lady Mary Catherine Charlotte Ashburnham, at the same time that NGA 1937.1.9 and NGA 1939.1.297 were sold.

[5] See Fern Rusk Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols., Washington, D.C., 1979: 1:157. The information available on the history of the painting between 1919 and 1944 is somewhat contradictory. Van Marle (1927: 9:544) mentions "a charming little picture of the Virgin between SS. Peter and Paul that I saw for sale in Paris in July 1925" among the works of Domenico di Bartolo. It is probable but not quite certain that the author was actually referring to the NGA painting, seen at Duveen's Paris office. A further point of uncertainty concerns the panel's ownership in the early 1940s. According to Shapley, it was exhibited in New York in 1943 with the Bache collection, but it is not listed in any of the three editions (1929, 1937, 1943) of the catalogue of that collection. The fact of its exhibition is recorded on a photograph of the painting in the Frick Art Reference Library in New York. Miklós Boskovits guesses that Duveen Brothers, usual suppliers of paintings for Jule Bache, did offer him the painting for sale, but after being in Bache's house on approval for a time (and shown with his collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art), it was returned to Duveen's.

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