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Provenance

Francis Astley-Corbett, 4th Bt. [1859-1937], Brigg, Lincs.; (his sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 8 July 1927, no. 66, as by Marcellus Laroon); purchased by (M. Knoedler & Co);[1] sold 1 April 1936 to Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969], Syosset, New York (as Laroon);[2] bequest 1970 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1940
Loan Exhibitions. Paintings of London and Paris for the Benefit of the British War Relief Society, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., and Durand Ruel Galleries, New York, 1940, no. 1 (shown at Knoedler), as by Laroon.
1986
Extended loan for use by Secretary Samuel R. Pierce, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., 1986-1987.
1987
Manners and Morals: Hogarth and British Painting 1700-1760, Tate Gallery, London, 1987-1988, no. 9, color repro., as Attributed to Marco Ricci.
1994
Extended loan for use by Justice Anthony Kennedy, The Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1994-1996.
Bibliography
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 304, repro., as Attributed to Marco Ricci.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 351, repro., as Attributed to Marco Ricci.
1991
Scarpa Sonino, Annalisa. Marco Ricci. Milan, 1991: 119, 137, no. 113, fig. 56, as contemporary copy.
1993
Delneri, Annalia. In Dario Succi and Annalia Delneri, Marco Ricci e il paesaggio veneto del settecento. Exh. cat. Palazzo Crepadona, Belluno. Milan, 1993: 104-105, fig. 8, as 18th Century copy.
1996
De Grazia, Diane, and Eric Garberson, with Edgar Peters Bowron, Peter M. Lukehart, and Mitchell Merling. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 220-223, repro. 221.
Technical Summary

The support is a plain-weave, medium-weight fabric prepared with a white ground of medium thickness. There is no evidence of an imprimatura layer. The background was executed with paint of medium thickness; the figures were applied over it with a thin paint that retains some texture of the brushstrokes.

The bottom tacking margin is present. The other three edges lack cusping, which suggests that the fabric has been cut down on these three sides. X-radiographs reveal a fabric insert in the lower-left corner where the original fabric, ground, and paint layers were lost due to damage. The varnish is moderately discolored. Losses are at the far left of the painting and to the left of the large tree at the center right. Small losses corresponding to the craquelure are scattered overall. Slight abrasion has occurred throughout. The painting has not been treated since acquisition, except for an adjustment of the inpainting by Susanna P. Griswold in 1987. However, examination shows that the painting has been inpainted during at least two other treatments.[1]

[1] A photograph in the Frick photographic achives (copy in NGA curatorial files) shows the painting at the time of the Astley-Corbett sale in 1927. Extensive overpaint extends both ranks of foliage farther to the left; careful comparison of the figures and the crackle pattern in the paint surface (clearly visible in the photograph) confirms that the two are the same work. Present areas of abrasion correspond to the areas of inpainting in the Frick photograph. The dimensions given on the photograph and in the Christie's catalogue indicate that the painting was lined prior to its exhibition at Knoedler's in 1940 (44 x 76 1/2 in. vs. 45 x 77 in.). Barbara Pralle, formerly of the Conservation Department, NGA, was very helpful in analyzing the photograph.