Stefano DELLA BELLA (Florence 1610 - Florence 1664)

The Heads of Two Women from Aalkmar Sold

Pen and brown ink and grey wash, over a pencil underdrawing.
Inscribed Anabatiste(?) /] di hollanda at the top.
94 x 130 mm. (3 3/4 x 5 1/8 in.)


The present sheet was once part of a sketchbook used by Stefano della Bella on a trip to the Low Countries between 1647 and 1650. The drawing shares much of its provenance with a similar, slightly larger sheet from the same sketchbook, depicting what seems to be the same woman and showing more of her costume, on which the artist further noted that the drawing was made in Aalkmar on the 6th of May 1647. This would suggest that the present sheet was drawn at the same time and place.

Another drawing from the same period and quite possibly part of the same sketchbook, showing two Dutch or Flemish women wearing distinctive headpieces, was part of an important album of drawings by Stefano della Bella assembled by the 18th century English calligrapher Thomas Tomkins (1743-1816), and dispersed at auction in 1975.

Possibly Giuseppe Vallardi, Milan
Possibly William Mayor, London
P. & D.Colnaghi, London
Sir Bruce Ingram, Chesham (Lugt 1405a), his mark on the former mount
Carl Winter, Cambridge
Private Collection, London
Trinity Fine Art, London, in 1990
Monica Streiff, Switzerland.

London, Trinity Fine Art Ltd., Italian Old Master Drawings 1500-1800, exhibition catalogue, 1990, pp.74-75, no.31a; Stefaan Hautekeete, ed., Disegno & Couleur: Dessins italiens et français du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle, exhibition catalogue, Maastricht, Tours and Brussels, 2012-2014, p.118, under no.36, note 7 (entry by Sarah Van Ooteghem).


The Heads of Two Women from Aalkmar


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