FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (FUENDETODOS 1746-1828 BORDEAUX)
FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (FUENDETODOS 1746-1828 BORDEAUX)
FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (FUENDETODOS 1746-1828 BORDEAUX)
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FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (FUENDETODOS 1746-1828 BORDEAUX)
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FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (FUENDETODOS 1746-1828 BORDEAUX)

Portrait of Doña María Vicenta Barruso Valdés, seated on a sofa with a lap-dog; and Portrait of her mother Doña Leonora Antonia Valdés de Barruso, seated on a chair holding a fan

Details
FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (FUENDETODOS 1746-1828 BORDEAUX)
Portrait of Doña María Vicenta Barruso Valdés, seated on a sofa with a lap-dog; and Portrait of her mother Doña Leonora Antonia Valdés de Barruso, seated on a chair holding a fan
the first: signed, dated and inscribed ‘D.a Maria Vizenta / Baruso Valdes. / P.r F.co Goya año 1805’ (lower left, on the sofa’s armrest); the second: signed, dated and inscribed ‘D.a Leonor Valdes / de Barruso / Por F.co Goya año / 1805’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
41 1/2 x 33 1/4 in. (105.4 x 84.4 cm.), each
a pair
Provenance
Both commissioned in 1805 by Don Salvador Anselmo Barruso de Ybaretta, husband of Doña Leonora and father of María Vicenta Barruso Valdés, and by descent to his grandson,
Don Salvador Valdés y Barruso (1807-1868), Madrid, son of María Vicenta Barruso Valdés, by whom probably left to his widow,
Carmen Corcuera y Vega (d. 1905).
Pierre Orossen, called Stanislas O’Rossen (1864-1933), Madrid, Paris and Biarritz, by whom probably acquired in Madrid, c. 1905, and by descent until,
‘Azoulay’ (almost certainly on behalf of O'Rossen's widow, Eugénie Creuzot (d. 1961), or his son Paul Orossen), Paris; Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 23 May 1951, lots 24 and 25, where acquired by the following,
with Agnew’s, London, from whom acquired on 24 May 1951 (the first) and 4 June 1951 (the second) by,
Private collection.
Literature
M. Moreno, Catálogo de Fotografías. Museo del Prado, Academia de San Fernando,Museo de Arte Moderno, Escorial, Toledo, Sevilla, etc., etc., Madrid, undated, pp. 22-23, nos. 228 and 229.
A.F. Calvert, Goya: An Account of his Life and Works, London and New York, 1908, p. xvi, pls. 167 (the first), 151 (the second).
A. de Beruete y Moret, Goya, pintor de retratos, Madrid, 1915, p. 100.
A. de Beruete y Moret, Goya as Portrait Painter, London and Sydney, 1922, pp. 122, 211, nos. 195, 196.
Calleja ed., Colección de cuatrocientos cuarenta y nueve reproducciones de cuadros, dibujos y aguafuertes de Don Francisco de Goya, Madrid, 1924, plates 115 (first) and 116 (second), both as ‘Señor Orossen, Madrid, Biarritz, Paris’ and ‘Fot. Moreno’.
F.J. Sánchez Cantón ed., Goya por A. de Beruete y Moret. Goya, pintor de retratos; Goya, composiciones y figuras y Goya grabador, Madrid, 1928, p. 65.
A.L. Mayer, Francisco de Goya, Munich, 1928, p. 188, nos. 209, 210.
F.J. Sánchez Cantón, Goya, Paris, 1930, (French translation by Georges Pillement), p. 58, note 56, referencing portraits dated 1805 and citing ‘Doña Leonor Valdés de Barruso (Coll. d’O’rossen)’.
X. Desparmet-Fitz-Gerald, L’oeuvre peint de Goya, Paris, 1928-1950, II, pp. 155-156, nos. 442-443, pls. 362, 363.
J. Gudiol, Goya 1746-1828: Biographie, Analyse critique et Catalogue des Peintures, I, Paris, 1970, p. 298, nos. 498-499; III, figs. 796, 797.
P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Goya: His Life and Work with a catalogue raisonné of the paintings, drawings and engravings, London, 1971, p. 199, nos. 830, 831, illustrated.
R. de Angelis, L’opera pittorica completa di Goya, Milan, 1974, p. 118, nos. 434, 435, illustrated.
X. de Salas, Goya, Milan, 1978, pp. 190-191, nos. 394, 395, illustrated.
J. Camón Aznar, Francisco de Goya, Zaragoza, III, 1980-1982, p. 150.
M.T.M. Bourgon, ed., Goya en las Colecciones Madrileñas, exhibition catalogue, Madrid, 1983, p. 67.
J.L. Morales y Marín, Goya: A Catalogue of his Paintings, Zaragoza, 1997, p. 287, nos. 354, 355.
J. Wilson-Bareau, Goya in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 2016, p. 162, illustrated (the first).
Exhibited
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, Goya en tiempos de Guerra, 14 April-13 July 2008, nos. 39 and 40.
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Lot Essay

These masterpieces of portraiture by Francisco Goya, the greatest Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, were painted in 1805, when he was at the height of his artistic powers and at a moment when he produced some of his most celebrated works. The portraits can be counted among only a handful of pairs of portraits by the artist remaining in private hands (above all outside of Spain), and are the only such pair to depict two women. Both canvases remain in startlingly beautiful condition, demonstrating the painter’s uncompromisingly bold handling of paint that was to anticipate so forcibly the work of the Impressionists and secure Goya’s reputation as one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of Western art. Their emergence on the market for the first time for over seventy years represents a highly rare opportunity for museums and collectors alike.


The Portraits and their position in Goya’s oeuvre

Goya’s portraits of María Vicenta Barruso Valdés and her mother Leonora Antonia Valdés de Barruso mark a pivotal moment in his career and represent the beginning of a period of increasing artistic freedom. Since his appointment as First Court Painter to King Carlos IV (1748-1819) in April 1789, a position that brought him widespread fame and reputation, Goya had been employed almost exclusively with commissions from the King’s court and the Spanish nobility. However, during the first decade of the nineteenth century, the painter’s practice increasingly turned away from the court to encompass a more diverse group of patrons. Significantly, his pendant portraits of María Vicenta Barruso and her mother are amongst the earliest by the artist to depict women from the bourgeoisie. The emergence of the burguesía during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries marked a significant sea-change for both the country and, more specifically, for Goya. The great social and economic ruptures occurring across Europe from the late 1780s onwards saw the gradual decline of the nobility and a rapid growth in the power and prosperity of the bourgeoisie. As these middle-classes gained greater economic positions and influence, their newly acquired status was quickly affirmed in their desire to have their likenesses painted.

The Barruso portraits, therefore, represent a crucial turning point in Goya’s expanding patronage in the early 1800s, displaying the increasing desire from Spain’s wealthy middle classes for portraits by the painter heralded as the ‘Apelles of Spain’. In their choice of artist and in the manner in which they are depicted, the Barrusos evidently wished to align themselves with the aristocracy. Both sitters here are dressed in the height of contemporary fashion in high-waisted Empire-line dresses, a style that was popularized in France during the late 1780s and 1790s and, by the early years of the nineteenth century, had been adopted across Europe. Furthermore, with their attributes of leisured gentlewomen (the fashionably groomed dog and the ornately decorated fan), the mother and daughter are deliberately situated within a visual tradition of portraits of the nobility.

On her lap, María Vicenta holds a small lap-dog wearing a large collar, embellished with large gilt studs. This is probably a bichon frisé, a popular breed amongst the higher echelons of Spanish society during the period. In fact, a number of very similar dogs appear in several other portraits by Goya, perhaps most famously in the artist’s masterpiece: The Duchess of Alba, ‘The White Duchess’ (1795, Duke of Alba Collection, Madrid). Like the sitter’s dress, the gloriously painted animal can be seen as a statement affirming her status. It may also have been intended as a further reference to María’s marriageable state; traditionally seen as a symbol of fidelity, her little bichon frisé, calmly seated in her lap, may be intended to advertise the sitter’s own future faithfulness to a prospective husband.

The presentation of Goya’s portraits of the mother and daughter is highly unusual. While pictures of parents and their children portrayed together abound throughout the history of Western art, Goya’s use of a pendant format appears to be almost unprecedented. Even more striking is the fact that María Vicenta is placed on the left (and thus on her mother’s right hand side), traditionally the position assumed by the more important figure of a pairing. The placement of the sitters in this way provides, perhaps, some insight into their function. Placing emphasis on the exquisitely dressed, elegant daughter, the pendants may have been intended to promote her as an eligible bride for prospective suitors. In a sense, therefore, the subtle smile on the face of her mother, who serves as a decorous chaperone to this encounter, can be seen as an invitation to the viewer to participate in this conceit, encouraged to look back at the thoughtful, gentle features of the young María.

Perhaps the only true portraits of bourgeois sitters which preceded the Barruso pictures were those of Bartolomé Sureda and his French-born wife Teresa Sureda (figs. 1 and 2; both National Gallery of Art, Washington), painted circa 1804. Sureda, a talented young industrialist, had travelled to England and France between 1793 and 1803 to study a variety of new industrial processes, as well as to investigate innovations in printing techniques. Goya was probably well acquainted with the couple, and his glamourous portraits of them perfectly encapsulate the nuanced changes which can be observed in his depictions of wealthy merchants and the industrial classes at the turn of the century, combining personal familiarity with elegant formality. The upright pose of Teresa Sureda, seated in a chair and turning towards the viewer with a calm but focused gaze certainly anticipates the portraits of both María Vicenta Barruso and of her mother.

The Barruso pictures mark the beginning of what can be regarded as a series of key portraits, painted between circa 1805 and 1806, which all depict bourgeois women. Similarly posed, with straight backs and gazing confidently out at the viewer, the Young Lady wearing a mantilla and basquiña (National Gallery of Art, Washington), Portrait of Antonia Zárate (fig. 3; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin), Young Woman with a fan (Musée du Louvre, Paris), and Portrait of Señora Sabasa García (fig. 4; National Gallery of Art, Washington) can all be seen to owe their conception and treatment to the Barruso pictures. The direct, painterly style and the palpable presence of each sitter show Goya’s pioneering and ‘freshly modern’ approach in these works, where he catered for newly wealthy patrons, whose recently raised position and influence in society served to define the progress and change of their new century (Wilson-Bareau, 2016, op. cit.).

By 1805 Goya was undoubtedly at the height of his artistic powers. Indeed, it was in this year that Manuel José Quintana paid tribute to Goya’s greatness in a poem, declaring the artist ‘had already surpassed Raphael and assuring him that his fame would endure for all time’ (G. Maurer, ‘First Court Painter, Biography’, in Goya, exhibition catalogue, Basel, 2022, p. 178). This period resulted in some of the artist’s most celebrated works, including the startlingly original portrait of The Marchioness of Villafranca painting her husband (1804; Museo del Prado, Madrid), the first Spanish portrait to show a woman in the act of painting, and the sublime portrait of The Marchioness of Santa Cruz (1805; Museo del Prado, Madrid). Such was the high regard reserved for the Barruso portraits among early scholars of the artist’s work, that both Aureliano de Beruete y Moret (1915) and Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón (1928) placed the pendants alongside the latter of these two great masterpieces and the portrait of Antonia Zárate at Dublin.


The Sitters

Leonora Antonia Valdés de Barruso was born on 20 July 1760 in Linares, in the province of Asturias in northern Spain. Through her mother, María García Noriega, she was probably related to the royal councillor Don Antonio Noriega, whose portrait Goya had painted in 1801 (National Gallery of Art, Washington). Noriega was an important figure at Court and it seems likely that it was he who introduced the Valdés y Barruso family to the painter.

In 1789, Leonora Valdés married Salvador Anselmo Barruso de Ybaretta, from Pedroso in the province of La Rioja. Barruso was a textile merchant and involved with the works at the Royal Factories of Silks, Gold and Silver Fabrics. These had been established in Talavera de la Reina, near Toledo, under the auspices of Fernando VI (1713-1759) in the mid-eighteenth century, as part of Spain’s economic policy to bolster exports from the country, negating dependence on French or English trade following the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). Shortly after their marriage, the couple settled in the city where, on 27 December 1790, they celebrated the birth of a daughter, their only child.

Little is known about the early life of María Vicenta Barruso Valdés until her marriage in 1807 (two years after this portrait) to Francisco Javier Valdés Andayo, a guard in the Compañía Española. As a gift for their wedding, María’s father gave the couple two houses on the Calle del Carmen in Talavera de la Reina, situated near the home he shared with Leonora. María and her husband appear to have divided their time between these residences and a house in Madrid, since it was there on 6 August 1810 that she gave birth to a son, Salvador Valdés y Barruso. In the same year María died in the city while her husband was in Cádiz, fighting against the French in the field corps of Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duke of Infantado (1768-1841).

Goya's Barruso portraits - an outline of technique and creation
by Marie Louise Sauerberg

As a conservator it is an unsurpassed privilege to see old master paintings with pristine surfaces and unadulterated brushwork, as untouched as possible by the ravages of time. This mother and her daughter afford one such extraordinary experience. These are canvasses covered with a bright, brick-colored ground, onto which the paint layers are deftly, directly and economically applied with astounding variation and swiftness. Unsurprisingly, the paintings have been treated over the course of the past 200 years. They are lined, they have a thin, relatively new varnish and a little retouching, all of which is sensitively and skillfully done.

The painting technique on display is one of superb mastery. Goya was nearing sixty when he painted the Barruso portraits, and they exude the confidence of an experienced master's hand. There is not a brush stroke too many, nor any hesitation. This is particularly visible in passages such as the bold rendering of the brocade fabric on the back of the mother's chair. The pattern was set with a broad brush loaded with rich, translucent red paint which was then deposited on the surface in short, squiggly lashes and dashes.

The immediacy in the paint handling could suggest that each portrait was painted in a single sitting – yet we can be quite sure this was not the case. A close look at the surface reveals periods during the creation when the paint was left to dry before the next layers were applied. This is the realm of early nineteenth-century academic tradition, and the exploration of the limits of it. There is as much care and precision in the making of these portraits as there is boldness.

Both portraits are executed on a tightly woven, medium-weight, plain-weave canvas, now tacked on to a Spanish strainer. They are at or close to their original size, as evidenced by slight cusping of the canvas weave along the edges. As mentioned, they were primed with a characteristic bright brick-colored ground, a color often favored by Goya, especially in his later years. The main pigment in the ground is presumably a high-quality earth pigment, like those originating in the area around Murcia or Seville, one of only few pigments to be produced in Spain at the time (most others were imported from elsewhere on the continent). The function of the ground is to reduce the canvas texture to a smoother surface on which to paint, without eliminating it. The ground further provided the canvas a more even absorbency, which ultimately controlled the final sheen of the painting, even when varnished. In this case the brick-colored ground is a protagonist. It is visible right across both portraits; in places shining through the thinly applied paint, such as the hair of the mother. Elsewhere the ground is barely covered, for instance at the shadow of her dress and on the back of her chair. Orange-red flashes of ground left by Goya in the daughter's yellow silk dress are especially prominent, and it is astonishing how little paint is used to cover the ground on the shadows of the mother's dress.

On this bright ground, Goya set out his sitters in bold, summary strokes of black. Infrared reflectography (IRR) does not reveal an earlier, lighter drawing, although that is not to say it did not exist, just that it is not or no longer detectable. However, its apparent absence speaks of total prowess, especially coupled with the exceedingly freely applied paint layers. The preliminary sketch is visible to the naked eye across both paintings as it peeks through the final paint layers, nowhere more clearly that in the gathering of the mother's dress under her bosom. This sketch was allowed to dry before the paint of the dress was applied.

The mother is placed a little higher in the picture field than her nearly fifteen-year-old daughter in her portrait. The Self-Portrait in the Studio (fig. 5; Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid) shows Goya in front of a canvas a little bigger than the Barrusos, propped up on an adjustable easel. Standing like this, he would be eye-height with his sitters as he worked up the faces and flesh tones. He would have been using a variety of smaller brushes, not unlike those which he is holding in the Self-Portrait, blending and feathering the paint. In the Barruso pair he finishes off with a few wet-in-wet dots, denoting small but surely distinguishing beauty spots on both mother and daughter. Once again, the brick-colored ground and the black sketch shines through in many places, for instance on María's temple, creating shadows and life in a lock of hair. The highlight on Leonora's proper left breast is created with thick paint which catches the light to indicate a certain fullness. A similar bold stroke is found rendering the daughter's collarbone, although that is now hidden beneath more refined brushwork. The palette in Goya's hand on the Self-Portrait is similar to that used in the present portraits; the vermilion and Prussian blue placed either end of a graded row of more muted color paints, starting with lead white.

The background has been brushed in around the figures, and in places it overlaps them. The unfinished portraits of Infanta María Josefa and Infante Carlos María Isidro (figs. 6 and 7; both Museo del Prado, Madrid) show the earlier stages of working up the background well. Only late in the process would the corners have been filled in. The present varnish on the Barruso pair is so thin that the texture of the brushstrokes can be readily appreciated through it, for example in the upper left quadrant of the daughter's portrait. Goya used a large brush that produced strokes several centimeters wide for the background, sometimes crisscrossing them. He did this with one aim: as quickly and efficiently as possible to block in and later finish off the grey background. Nearer the sitters' heads, the final strokes are narrower, as he changed brushes, adjusting and tightening the contours as he went. He even used his fingers, leaving an imprint at the nape of the mother's neck. He was clearly not bothered by the rugged edges created where he pulled off his brush from the surface, such as the edge of the mother's dress on her right leg and knee. Later, he softened down this junction with pinkish white blended washes, effectively veiling her leg with a tulle top dress.

Several changes are visible to the naked eye relating to the application and reshaping of outlines using the background paint. For instance, the back of the mother’s neck was reshaped, making it thinner and thereby her posture more upright.

On María's portrait a sizable area of a paler grey stands out to the naked eye in the background, just above the armrest. This grey paint is applied over the darker grey background. Nearby, an appreciably warmer colored reserve can be seen to the left of the dog on her lap. These two areas seem to relate to one another, suggesting a possible change in the posture of the sitter and her lapdog. Early in the painting process, Mari´a may have had her left arm around the dog, which sat closer to her, perhaps even intended to turn towards her. This version does not seem to have progressed beyond the initial stage. In the final version, Mari´a’s arm is brought in by her side in a more contained, perhaps more decorous pose. A telling ridge of paint evidences a change to the contour on the right, a puff sleeve or perhaps an appreciable reduction of her bosom. One can't help but wonder by whom the change may have been instigated. Further changes in layout are visible in María's chair in the lower left. As for the lapdog, there is an area of her dress that is lighter and warmer than the rest of the chair. It seems that at an earlier stage the daughter's dress extended unbroken down to the edge of the painting, in a chair without the armrest. The contrast between these areas may be somewhat enhanced due to changes in the paints and pigments, that is increased transparency of the paint and the possible fading of the red glaze; both are common phenomena. Similarly, the reserve for her arm probably wasn't as marked at first as it is now.

Comparing the two chairs, the daughter's is darker and greyer than that which her mother is seated on. This is a result of a reserve of the brick-colored ground being left for the back of the mother's chair, and that of the daughter having been painted on the grey background.

The final dashes are the most precise, such as the crisply raised paint of the flowers and foliage in their hair. Similarly, a single dash of yellow, denoting the gold ring in María's ear, is set with a fine, pointed brush that starts with a dot and finishes as if set with a single hair.

The Barruso portraits provide a superb opportunity to study Goya’s singular technique by the simple fact of their exceptional state of preservation.

The History of the Pictures

Goya’s portraits were probably commissioned by Salvador Anselmo Barruso de Ybaretta, the husband and father of the sitters, and eventually descended to his grandson, Salvador Valdés y Barruso. Following in the footsteps of his father, Salvador entered the army, gradually gaining numerous military honors during an illustrious career, culminating in his being awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic in 1860. On his death the portraits passed to his widow Carmen Corcuera y Vega.

It was very probably soon after her death in 1905 that the pictures were acquired in Madrid by the French couturier Pierre Stanislas O’Rossen (1864-1933). O’Rossen lived for a short time in Madrid, where he married his first wife, Gracieuse Pennes, in 1899, and he would certainly, in this way, have become familiar with Goya’s work. Indeed, his collection of paintings included several pictures by the artist, notably the haunting Still life with a sheep’s head (fig. 8; Musée du Louvre, Paris) and the Still life with woodcocks, now in the Meadows Museum, Dallas, as well as other celebrated Spanish pictures, none more so than El Greco’s masterpiece, The Holy Family with Mary Magdalene (c. 1590-95; Cleveland Museum of Art). The Barruso portraits were then sold at auction in Paris, where they were acquired by Agnew’s and subsequently by the present owners.


Goya’s Legacy

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes was the first modern artist and the last old master. He died 175 years ago and yet his work speaks with an urgency that no other painter of his time can muster
–Robert Hughes, 2003

The genius of Goya’s art has remained enduringly significant for later painters. Indeed, the technique exemplified by the rich quality of paint in the Barruso portraits, combined with the speed and economy used by the artist to create form in only a few strokes of his brush, can be seen to have directly informed some of the most important movements and artists of the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The painter most aware of Goya’s talents was arguably Édouard Manet, often considered the father of modernism. Many of the French artist’s most celebrated compositions were painted in direct response to works by Goya, including The Balcony (fig. 9; 1868; Musée d’Orsay, Paris), a work clearly indebted to the Spaniard’s Majas on a Balcony (1808-12; private collection, France); the series of paintings made between 1867 and 1869 of the Execution of the Emperor Maximilian, which were inspired by Goya’s The Third of May 1808 (Museo del Prado, Madrid); and, perhaps most famously, in Manet’s revolutionary painting of Olympia (1863-5; Musée d’Orsay, Paris), which owed much to Goya’s equally provocative Maja desnuda (1795-1800; Museo del Prado, Madrid). However, it was not exclusively in compositional motifs and themes that Goya exerted such a powerful influence on Manet’s work. Goya’s technical brio also made a profound impact on the French artist. His dazzling handling of paint, rapidly yet economically applied to create convincing form, texture and weight, would inform Manet’s own pioneering approach to painting.

Goya continued to influence painters working in the Post-Impressionist tradition. Paul Cézanne turned repeatedly to the Spanish master’s violent depictions of crime and murder during the late 1860s, producing a series of oil sketches and watercolors which demonstrate his close study of engravings by Goya, produced as part of his Los Desastres de la Guerra series between 1810 and 1820. During the 1880s, Cézanne likewise drew a great deal of inspiration from Goya’s Self-Portrait which had been included at the beginning of his famed Los Caprichos series and disseminated through the revival of written interest in Spanish painting in France during the mid-nineteenth century. Cézanne’s own Self-Portrait of 1866 (private collection) shows his very personal response to this engraving. As with Manet, Goya’s free brushwork and use of broad strokes to describe form, texture and light, can also be recognized in Cézanne’s work, such as in the portrait of Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (fig. 10; 1891; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

Painters of the nineteenth-century avant-garde were not alone in their admiration of Goya. Pablo Picasso, for example, was dubbed ‘el pequeño Goya’ in Paris in 1901. Early works by the artist were evidently inspired by the time he had spent looking at pictures in the Prado and paintings like his Mujer en azul (Woman in Blue), painted in 1901 (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid), clearly show Goya’s influence, referencing portraits like that of Queen María Luisa in a dress with hooped skirt (c. 1789) in the Museo del Prado.

Titian, Rembrandt and Goya were the great painters. I am only a public clown
– Pablo Picasso

We are very grateful to Juliet Wilson-Bareau and Véronique Gerard Powell for their assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.

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