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LONDON.- Bonhams next sale of Old Master paintings on July 8th in New Bond Street, offers stunning views of some of the highlights of The Grand Tour by some of the masters of the time.

Today, when the capturing of images by cameras, phone, video and film have become commonplace we forget the power and the impact and the privilege of having images of places one has visited. Many of the band of aristocratic travelers on the Continent during the height of the Grand Tour took the opportunity to return home with the modern equivalent of tourist snapshots. But few tourist snapshots will hold their enchantment or their value in the way that these breathtaking images have done for centuries.

Images of Venice, Rome, Florence, the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius, pulse with life and colour in images that must have kept alive the journey of a lifetime for those lucky enough to undertake them and for their descendants. Today we are fortunate to be able to follow in their footsteps and see the views they saw thanks to a development that allowed artists to tackle images of a non-religious nature.

The images are filled with quiet space and a noticeable lack of commercialism, there is no evidence of corporate signage, or indeed much hustle and bustle. The paintings seem to indicate that there is space and time aplenty. There are images of feasting, a musician and rampant bird life, all snapshot-memories captured on the trip of a lifetime.

Among the best of these images are pictures by Locatelli, Carlevarijs, Antoniani, Zuccarelli, van Oost, van Kessel and Bocchi.

Luca Carlevarijs (Udine 1663-1730 Venice) offers us an image of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. An oil on canvas it is estimated at £500,000-700,000. It was commissioned by Stefano Conti (Lucca, 1654-1739), then owned (?) probably by Filippo Fatinelli, and then probably by descent to Gasparo Massoni and thence by descent to the Marquis and Marquise Piero Massoni-Errera.

The pendant to the present work, a View of the Molo towards the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, is now in the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi, Lucca (see fig. 1). Both works were originally in the collection of the wealthy Lucchese merchant, Stefano Conti (1654-1739). Conti showed a very particular interest in both the Bolognese and the Venetian schools of paintings. To this end, he approached the Veronese painter, Alessandro Marschesini, from whom he not only ordered paintings but whom he also appointed as an agent and consultant. Conti appears to have known exactly what he wanted from the artists he commissioned, insisting that each work should be an original and painted for him alone. This exacting nature is revealed in his extensive correspondence both with Marchesini and with the artists themselves, which has proved invaluable in identifying the works formerly comprising his collection.

Conti first briefly visited Venice in 1704, when he no doubt became familiar with the work of Carlevarijs but it was only on a later trip, in 1706, when he commissioned the artist to paint three views of the city. The first two works, the present painting and its pendant, were completed by April of that year and the third, as yet unidentified, by August. A letter survives, from the artist directly to Conti, in which he confirms their authenticity and describes the pair of views in great detail. ‘Attesto Io Luca Carlevarijs Pittore di haver fatto al Ill.mo Sig.r Stefano Conti due quadri di quarte 6 in larghezza e 4 in altezza, nell’uno de quali vi e’ rapresentata la pescaria di Venezia con la fabrica della Ceccha, i granai Publici, con una parte del canal grande oltre il qualle si vede la chiesa di S.ta Maria della Salute, et la Dogana di mare, con barche d’ogni sorte, e quantita’ di figure, la maggior parte della qualli saranno pocho meno di onze 3.
Nell’altro vi e’ rapresentata la veduta di S. Giorgio Magiore oltre il canal Grande con navi bastimenti Barche piccolo e molte figurine come nell’altro, e questi glieli consegnai il mese d’Aprile 1706’ (now in the Autografoteca Campori della Bibilioteca Estense di Modena). This letter also provides an important terminus ante quem for the paintings, early on in the artist’s career, as so few indicators are otherwise available to help with dating the work of Carlevarijs.

Conti clearly prized his three paintings by Carlevarijs as about 20 years later he once again approached Marchesini, with a view to acquiring two more views by the painter. In the event, however, his farsighted agent in Venice convinced him to instead commission the two works from the emerging talent, Antonio Canale, whose abilities Marchesini described in a letter to Conti: ‘Sigr. Antonio Canale fa in questo paese stordire universalmente ognuno che vede le sue opere, che consiste sul ordine del carlevari ma vi si vede lucer entro il sole’ (Sigr. Antonio Canale, who astounds everyone who sees his work in the city – it is like that of Carlevarijs, but you can see the sun shining in it).

In his will, Stefano Conti requested that his collection not be dispersed: the three Carlevarijs views passed to his grandson, Carlo Giuseppe Innocenzo, as confirmed in a detailed inventory of the estate in 1750. It is unclear, however, by what means the present work and its pendant came to be in the Massoni family collection. It seems most likely that they passed to the Massoni family through the marriage of Angela Fatinelli and Gasparo Massoni. Angela being the daughter of Filippo Fatinelli, a beneficiary upon the death of Carlo Conti, the sole surviving member of the Conti family, who committed suicide in 1794.

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Luca Carlevarijs (Udine 1663-1730 Venice), The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, signed with initials 'L.C.' (on box, lower left) oil on canvas, 64.2 x 93.2cm (25 1/4 x 36 11/16in). Estimate: £500,000 - 700,000, €580,000 - 810,000

Jan van Kessel the Elder (Antwerp 1626-1679) shows a fantastical image titles A concert of birds, signed with initials and dated 'I.V.K. F. Ao. 1667' (lower right). An oil on canvas it is estimated at £300,000-400,000 and was acquired by a noble European family in the eighteenth century and thence by descent to the present owner.

The present canvas is one of the artist's rare large scale creations. Van Kessel painted a smaller version of this composition, on copper, 24 x 34 cm., signed and dated 'I V Kessel A 1654' (René Schreuder Collection, Amsterdam). The graphic work of Johan Sadeler, who published a series devoted to The Creation and Early History of Men, is said to have served as the source for the subject.

Jan van Kessel II was the most versatile and accomplished of a large family of Flemish artists. Trained by Simon de Vos, his uncles included two further eminent Antwerp painters: Jan Brueghel II and David Teniers II, with whom he was to collaborate. The present composition shows the artist's fascination with the exotic. His accurate technique by which he filled his scenes with every object depicted with almost scientific precision owed much to the fact that he is known to have made regular use of illustrated scientific texts. According to Jacob Weyermann, who was the pupil of one of the artist's sons, Ferdinand, Jan also frequently worked from nature.

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Jan van Kessel II (Antwerp 1626-1679) The Coronation of the King of the Birds, signed with initials and dated 'I.V.K. F. Ao. 1667' (lower right) oil on canvas. 107.6 x 203cm (42 3/8 x 79 15/16in)..Estimate: £300,000 - 400,000, €350,000 - 460,000

Andrea Locatelli (Rome 1693-circa 1741) shows a view of the Tiber looking towards the Castel Sant' Angelo, with Saint Peter's in the distance, is an oil on canvas estimated to sell for £150,000-250,000. It was acquired circa 1949 by the present owner's parents. Formerly hanging at Inglewood House, Devon, and thence by descent.

Andrea Locatelli painted few realistic vedute and the present, hitherto unknown work, alongside his 1733 View of the Piazza Navona with a Market (in the Gemäldegalerie, Vienna), might be considered among his masterpieces. The only other strictly topographical subjects by the artist are his View of the Tiber with the Ponte Rotto (Wiesbaden, Städtisches Museum-Gemäldegalerie) his View from the Tiber to the Castel Sant'Angelo (Barbieri Collection, Rome) and two views of the Castello of Rivoli in Turin, which were commissioned for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. Another prestigious royal commission was from King Philip V of Spain in 1735, for two overdoors for La Granja.

Andrea Locatelli was a native of Rome, having trained in his father's studio in Trastevere, and although his paintings became sought after by an international clientele, his main patronage was derived from eminent Romans, including Cardinal Alessandro Albani and Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. In 1738 he decorated two doors in the Palazzo Corsini, each with four decorative panels of landscapes. In 1783 the Colonna family owned 80 of his pictures.

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Andrea Locatelli (Rome 1693-circa 1741), View of the Tiber looking towards the Castel Sant'Angelo, with Saint Peter's in the distance, oil on canvas, 55 x 110cm (21 5/8 x 43 5/16in).Estimate: £150,000 - 250,000, €170,000 - 290,000

Francesco Zuccarelli (Pitigliano 1702-1788 Florence) provides an Italianate landscape with washerwomen beside a waterfall and horsemen and their dogs approaching; and An Italianate landscape with a beggar beside a country path, a village in the distance. This pair of oils on paper, laid down on canvas is estimated at £50,000-80,000. They were acquired by the present owner's family circa 1930, and thence by descent.

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Francesco Zuccarelli (Pitigliano 1702-1788 Florence) An Italianate landscape with washerwomen beside a waterfall and horsemen and their dogs approaching; and An Italianate landscape with a beggar beside a country path, a village in the distance; a pair, oil on paper, laid down on canvas, 39.3 x 58cm (15 1/2 x 22 13/16in). (2) Estimate: £50,000 - 80,000, €58,000 - 92,000

Pietro Antoniani (Milan circa 1740-1805) shows us the breathtaking bay of Naples with the eruption of Vesuvius seen from the Riviera di Chiaia. An oil on canvas it is estimated to attract bids in the region of £50,000-70,000. This painting is from the Grimaldi Collection (according to a label on the reverse).

Pietro Antoniani painted a number of such vedute showing Vesuvius in eruption from the 1770s, largely for Grand Tourists. It is believed that they were based on first hand observation of the volcano’s frequent activity at this date. The artist enjoyed the patronage of several British connoisseurs in particular, who were fascinated by the spectacular natural phenomenon. These included Charles Townley, Henry Blundell, the last Earl of Seaforth and Sir William Hamilton. The present painting may represent the eruption of the 19th September, 1767. A larger view of that eruption (although painted in 1776) was in the Hamilton collection in Naples. In his fascination with volcanoes, Hamilton’s scientific and observational approach towards nature was particularly notable and his essays on the subject to the Royal Society back in London were received with great acclaim by the leaders of enlightened society.

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Pietro Antoniani (Milan circa 1740-1805) The Bay of Naples with the eruption of Vesuvius seen from the Riviera di Chiaia, oil on canvas, 74.9 x 124cm (29 1/2 x 48 13/16in).Estimate: £50,000 - 70,000, €58,000 - 81,000

And as the artist-camera turns around to see its human subject, Jacob van Oost I (Bruges 1601-1671) captures a young man at a stone window playing a musical instrument. An oil on canvas it is estimated at £50,000-80,000.

The present owner's ancestor, Jean-François Michiels, who acquired the painting, was a photographer and member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Bruges. After having taught the art of photography to the Crown Prince of Prussia (the future Emperor Frederick III), Michiels travelled to Saint Petersburg in order to make a photographic record of the major paintings in the Hermitage. There he acquired a number of paintings, by mostly Dutch and Flemish masters, including the present work and others by David Teniers the Younger and Frans Hals. An inventory exists for the insurance valuation of the Michiels Collection in 1907, which includes the present painting.

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Jacob van Oost I (Bruges 1601-1671) A young man at a stone window playing a theorbo-lute, signed and dated 'I.V.OOST.F: 1646' (on ledge, lower centre) oil on canvas, 89 x 75.2cm (35 1/16 x 29 5/8in). Estimate: £50,000 - 80,000, €58,000 - 92,000

And finally Francesco Tironi (Venice circa 1745-1797) provides the image of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. An oil on canvas it is estimated at £30,000-50,000. It was acquired by the current owner's family over 100 years ago and thence by descent.

The present composition is a version of Tironi's La chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore of circa 1780 (Private Collection, see Dario Succi, Francesco Tironi (Pordenone, 2004), fig. 16, pp. 32-33 and front cover), in which the staffage, vessels and sky differ.

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Francesco Tironi (Venice circa 1745-1797) The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, oil on canvas, 54.8 x 72.2cm (21 9/16 x 28 7/16in). Estimate: £30,000 - 50,000, €35,000 - 58,000