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    Sale 7632

    Old Master & British Pictures (Evening Sale)

    2 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 26

    Jan van Os (Middelharnis 1744-The Hague 1808)

    Flowers, grapes, plums, walnuts and a melon on a stone ledge

    Price Realised  


    Jan van Os (Middelharnis 1744-The Hague 1808)
    Flowers, grapes, plums, walnuts and a melon on a stone ledge
    signed 'J Van Os fecit.' (lower right, on the ledge)
    oil on panel
    18¼ x 13¾ in. (46.2 x 35 cm.)

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    Joseph Fesch was the half-brother of Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte (1750-1836), mother of the future Emperor Napoleon I, to whom Fesch was close in age. From the mid-1790s to his death in 1839 he formed one of the largest private collections of paintings of the 19th century. His love of art seems to have developed during Napoleon's campaigns in Italy (1796-8), when Fesch became, through his nephew's offices, a supplier to the French army: indeed, his first acquisitions were given to him by a terrified Grand Duke Ferdinand III of Tuscany. It was after his return to Paris in 1800, however, that he began to acquire paintings at an extraordinary rate. In 1802 he was made Archbishop of Lyons and then Cardinal of S Lorenzo-in-Lucina; from 1803 to 1806 he was French Ambassador in Rome, and on his return to Paris in 1806 was appointed Grand Almoner of France. He used his considerable income to augment his collection, taking advantage of the dispersal of a number of other collections to acquire French, Dutch and Flemish paintings, as well as Italian works from some of the great Roman patrician families. In 1812, however, he quarrelled with the Emperor about his loyalty to Pius VII and lost his position, retiring to his diocese in Lyons before settling in August 1815 in Rome, where he led the life of an exile of limited resources, dividing his time between pious activities and the search for new paintings.

    According to the inventory drawn up at his death, Fesch's collection comprised nearly 16,000 works. His residence in Rome was the Palazzo Falconieri in the Via Giulia, where he displayed his finest pieces. These included such masterpieces as Giorgione's Allendale Nativity (Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art), Giotto's Dormition of the Virgin, Fra Angelico's Last Judgement, Rembrandt's Predication of the Baptist (all Berlin, Gemäldegalerie), Poussin's Dance to the Music of Time, Metsu's Sleeping Hunter, Hobbema's Stormy Landscape, Adriaen van de Velde's Departure of Jacob, Watteau's Fête in a Park and Halt during the Chase (all London, Wallace Collection), Mantegna's Agony in the Garden, a Raphael Crucifixion, Foppa's Adoration of the Magi and Ercole de' Roberti's Israelites Gathering Manna (all London, National Gallery), Carpaccio's Hunting on the Lagoon and Pontormo's Portrait of a Halberdier (both Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum). The Cardinal's own portrait was sculpted by Antonio Canova in 1807-8 (Ajaccio, Musée Fesch).

    Samuel Jones Loyd (1796-1883) succeeded his father as the chairman of the banking house of Jones, Loyd and Co. in 1844; he was one of the most influential bankers of his generation and was created Lord Overstone in 1850. His interest in pictures developed in the early 1830s. Many of his earlier acquisitions were by Dutch masters and these were kept at the London house, 2 Carlton Gardens, and passed on the death of Overstone's daughter, Lady Wantage, to her husband's great- nephew, the 27th Earl of Crawford. The Van Os was a relatively late purchase and although it was originally in London, it had by 1905 been moved to Lockinge, where other masterpieces from Overstone's collection, including Claude's Enchanted Castle (London, National Gallery) were placed.

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    Joseph, Cardinal Fesch (1763-1839), Palazzo Falconieri, Rome; sale, Galerie de Feu S.E. Le Cardinal Fesch, Ancien Archevêque de Lyon, Primat des Gaules, etc., etc., George, Rome, 17-8 and 24ff. March 1844, lot 172, 'deux compositions [i.e. with the preceding lot in that sale] très flatteuses, pleines de fraîcheur et d'éclat, et qui justifient la réputation que Jean Van Os s'est acquise de nos jours.' (89 escudi together with the preceding lot to Walsh).
    with Anthony, from whom purchased in 1862 for 60 gns. (Crawford Mss.) by
    Samuel Jones Loyd, 1st Lord Overstone (1796-1883), by whom bequeathed to his daughter
    Harriet, Lady Wantage (1837-1920), wife of Robert James Lindsay, subsequently Loyd-Lindsay, 1st Lord Wantage, V.C., K.C.B. (1832-1901), Lockinge House, Berkshire, and by inheritance at Lockinge through her cousin, A.T. Loyd.

    Pre-Lot Text



    G. Redford, Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures at 2 Carlton Gardens, London, 1875, no. 19.
    A.G. Temple, A Catalogue of the Pictures forming the Collection of Lord and Lady Wantage at 2 Carlton Gardens, London, Lockinge House, Berks., and Overstone Park and Ardington House, London, 1905, p. 115, lot 168.
    The Loyd Collection of Pictures and Drawings, 1967, p. 34, no. 51; revised edition 1991, p. 22, no. 51, illustrated.