The present lot is one of several versions known of this composition: the prime version (dated 1832, canvas, 217 x 136 cm., present location unknown) was exhibited at the Salon in Paris in 1833. A second, smaller version is in the collection of the Dordrechts Museum (Gretchen in de kerk, panel, 31.7 x 20 cm., inv.no. DM/S/46, see: L. Ewals, Ary Scheffer 1795-1858. Gevierd romanticus, Zwolle, 1996, p. 164-166). In his dissertation on the artist Ewals lists a few other versions which are only known through 19th Century auction and dealers records (see: L. Ewals, Ary Scheffer. Sa Vie et son Oeuvre, Nijmegen, 1987, pp. 261-62). A version of the composition was included as an additional number in the Tentoonstelling van Levende Meesters in 1844, no. 666 (see: Ewals, op.cit., pp.160-61). Which version was included in this exhibition is not known. The subject is taken from Wolfgang Goethe's Faust (1808, verses 3776-3834), where it is related how Marguerite swooned during Mass, overcome with grief about the unfortunate events which have occured to her and her family after Faust entered her life. Scheffer depicted Marguerite in an isolated position in the church, turned away from the altar and the rest of the congregation. At the time of execution of the present lot, Scheffer had reached the height of his career and regularly received requests from dealers and collectors for replicas of his previous works. The present lot should be regarded as such and was very likely painted on commission. It could perhaps be identical to the picture which was mentioned by Scheffer's cousin in Brussels in a letter to the artist in 1844, where he enquired when he could expect the 'Marguerite in the Church' which he had commissioned as he was keen to sell it (oral communication L. Ewals, 1996).