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Giovanni di ser Giovanni Guido, Lo Scheggia (San Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486 Florence)
THE PROPERTY OF A FAMILY
Giovanni di ser Giovanni Guido, Lo Scheggia (San Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486 Florence)

A battle scene: a cassone front

Details
Giovanni di ser Giovanni Guido, Lo Scheggia (San Giovanni Valdarno 1406-1486 Florence)
A battle scene: a cassone front
tempera, with gold and silver, on panel
17 7/8 x 63 1/8 in. (45.4 x 160.4 cm.)
Provenance
Presumably acquired by Alexander, Lord Lindsay, later 25th Earl of Crawford and 8th of Balcarres (1812-1880) and by descent to his son,
James, 26th Earl of Crawford and 9th of Balcarres (1847-1913), Haigh Hall, where recorded in his posthumous inventory of 1913 (information from the Earl of Crawford, K.T.), and by descent to
David, 27th Earl of Crawford and 10th of Balcarres; Christie's, London, 10 October 1946, lot 167, when a complete cassone was offered, the front panel described as 'a classical battle scene in the manner of the Master of the Cassone' (135 gns. to Staal).
Sir Thomas Merton, F.R.S. (1888-1969); (+) Christie's, London, 30 November 1979, lot 25, as the Master of the Anghiari Battle (£15,000).
Literature
R. Scharf, A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings from the Collection of Sir Thomas Merton, F.R.S., at Stubbings House, Maidenhead, 1950, no. IX, illustrated.

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Miriam Winson-Alio
Miriam Winson-Alio

Lot Essay

Scheggia, the younger brother of the most revolutionary master of early Renaissance Florence, Masaccio, was trained first under Bicci di Lorenzo. In recent decades he has been recognised as the author not only of a group of devotional panels, but also of a substantial corpus of secular commissions, including deschi da parto (birth trays) and cassone panels, many of which were previously assigned to the Master of the Anghiari Battle and others. Among these were a number of depictions of battles like the present example. The artist had himself served early in his career as a mercenary, and his experience can only have sharpened his interest in the incident and detail of such compositions.

There is a strong presumption that the picture was acquired, almost certainly in Florence, by Lord Lindsay, who for several years owned the Villa Palmieri outside Florence, and was one of the most remarkable connoisseurs of his generation (see N. Barker, Biblioteca Lindesiana, London, 1977 and the exhibition catalogue, 'A Poet in Paradise', Lord Lindsay and Christian Art, National Gallery of Scotland, 2000). The panel acquired was inserted into a cassone which does not survive, but was presumably one of the many put together in Florence in the mid-nineteenth century.

Sir Thomas Merton, F.R.S., who served as a Trustee of the National Gallery, formed a distinguished collection of early Italian and Northern pictures and drawings. Among the pictures were the portrait of Guillaume Fillastre attributed to Rogier van der Weyden (London, Courtauld Institute) and two works by Botticelli, as well as a panel by Fungai (York, City Art Gallery). The finest of the drawings was the study of a man by Signorelli (Manchester, City Art Gallery).

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