Onorio Marinari (Florence 1627-1715)
Onorio Marinari (Florence 1627-1715)

The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine

Onorio Marinari (Florence 1627-1715)
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine
oil on canvas
49 x 41½ in. (124.5 x 105.5 cm.)
in a contemporary Florentine carved and giltwood frame
Lorenzi Gallery, Florence, where acquired in 1833 by,
The Rev. John Sanford (1777-1855), Casino Torrigiani, Florence, and Connaught Place, London; his sale, Christie's, London, 9 March 1839, lot 88 (101 gns. to Edwards).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 9 December 1992, lot 257, as 'Attributed to Simone Pignoni'.
List of Paintings the property of the Revd J. Sanford in the Casino Torrigiani Novr 1833, no. 58; 1834, no. 59.
Catalogue of Paintings purchased by the Revd John Sanford during his residence in Italy. 1830 and following years, no. 59.
T. Brettell, Catalogue of Paintings, belonging to the Rev. J. Sanford; collected in Italy, from 1815 to 1827. Entrusted to G. Yates and Son, to be partially disposed of by private contract at 209 Regent Street, London, 1839, no. 59.
B. Nicolson, 'The Sanford Collection', Burlington Magazine, XCVII, July 1955, p. 213, no. 28.
F. Borroni Salvadori, ‘L‘e esposizioni d‘arte a Firenye dal 1674 al 1767‘, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XVIII, 1974, p. 100, note 464.
F. Guidi, ‘Pitture fiorentine del Seicento ritrovate‘, Paragone, 297, 1974, pp. 60. and 62, notes 12, 14-15.
G. Cantelli, ‘Una precisazione per Onorio Marinari e il Volterrano‘, Antichita viva, XIV, 1975, p. 23.
G. Corti, ‘La colezione Ughi in Firenze nel 1705‘, Paragone, 1980, pp. 71 and 76.
P. Bruscoli, ‘Onorio Marinari‘, Il Seicento Fiorentino, III, 1986, p. 113.
F. Baldassari, Simone Pignoni (Firenze 1611-1698), Torino, 2008, pp. 193-194, n. 27, as 'Onorio Marinari'.
S. Bellesi, ‘Onorio Marinari‘, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, LXX, Rome, 2008, p. 386.
F. Baldassari, La pittura del Seicento a Firenze. Indice degli artisti e delle loro opere, Turin, 2009, p. 508.
S: Benassai, Onorio Marinari. Pittore nella Firenze degli ultimi Medici, Florence, 2011, p. 162, no. 93 (with a poor black and white illustration).

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Amelia Walker

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Lot Essay

Described in the 1839 sale catalogue as the 'chef d'oeuvre of Marinari' (loc.cit.), this painting is recorded in the collection of the Rev. John Sanford as early as 1833. Born in England, Sanford amassed his collection, which consisted primarily of Italian paintings, when he resided in Florence in the 1830s, capitalising on the financial misfortunes that befell many old Florentine families. Upon returning to England, he must have decided that his collection was too large for his London residence at. 4 Connaught Place, and proceeded to sell nearly 150 paintings in these Rooms in March 1839, including the Marinari. However, he had records made of these works in the form of small scale copies, mostly in watercolour. The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine was painted in watercolour by Giovanni Gozzini, while in Florence (One small difference between the present picture and the drawing are the cherubs; these are most likely a later addition). Four volumes of these watercolours, along with paintings from the original collection, were inherited by Sanford's only child, Anna, wife of Fredrick Henry Paul Methuen, the future 2nd Lord Methuen, and subsequently passed into the Methuen family collection at Corsham Court, Wiltshire, England.

Many of the paintings owned by the Rev. John Sanford are now in museums, amongst them Salvatore Rosa’s Self-Portrait and Philosophy, now in the National Gallery, London, and Piero di Cosimo's Young Saint John the Baptist, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

We are grateful to Francesca Baldassari for confirming the attribution to Onorio Marinari, on the basis of photographs. We are also grateful to Silvia Benassai for confirming that the picture is likely to be the same as the one published by her in 2011 (op. cit.).

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