This sheet is a rare early example of a finished red chalk drawing by Guercino. As it does not relate to any surviving painting, it could have been made as an independent work in its own right. It can be dated circa 1619-20 because of the masterly chiaroscuro executed with a drier, orange-tinted chalk and a robust, almost rough application. The crossed feet of the angel recalls, in reverse, those of a shepherd in Erminia and the Shepherds of 1619-20 (Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery), as do the loosely falling layers of hair. The pose of the angel in the present drawing is also similar to that of the musical angel in Guercino's Saint Francis and the Angel of the same period (Warsaw, Narodowe Museum; L. Salerno, I dipinti del Guercino, Rome, 1988, no. 72).
We are grateful to Nicholas Turner for confirming the attribution of this drawing and for his assistance in cataloguing.