These two decorative canvases were painted by Pietro Paltronieri, a Bolognese artist who was known as il Mirandolese. Il Mirandolese mostly worked in tempera on canvas and produced several similarly-shaped compositions throughout his career, often in collaboration with Vittorio Maria Bigari, who painted the staffage.
Old labels indicate that the present canvases were part of the collection of Josephine Maximillienne Eugenie Napoleon de Beauharnais (Milan 1807-1876 Stockholm), the Duchessa di Galliera. Josephine was the firstborn daughter of Eugene de Beauharnais (1781-1824) and Augusta Amalia (daughter of King Maximilian of Bavaria). In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte adopted her father and named him Viceroy of Italy. Two years later, on 29 December 1807 the young Josephine was named Princess of Bologna and on 28 May 1813 she became Duchessa di Galliera (a commune in Bologna). Josephine married Oscar I (1779-1859), King of Sweden and Norway and Marshal under Napoleon in 1823, the year that the inventory was taken at the Palazzo Reale di Bologna
These and other labels further suggest that the paintings were displayed in the Palazzo Reale di Bologna, a requisitioned palace that was renamed Palazzo Reale but that had been formerly owned by the Caprara family. Cardinal Giovanni Battista (Bologna 1733-1810 Paris), who was named bishop of Milan in 1802 and who crowned Napoleon King of Italy three years later, was a member of this important Bolognese family. Additional labels mention the Duca di Galliera, which probably refers to the influential Genoese banker Marchese Raffaele Luigi di Ferrari (1803-1876), who bought the title 'Duca di Galliera' in 1837. Two different Caprara palaces are recorded in the 1826 Guida dal Forestiere per la Citt di Bologna e suoi sobborghi con XIV tavole in rame (Civiche Raccolte Bertarelli, Milan - Bo. 1826, I, 37), but the one that the paintings' labels refer to is that described as Palazzo già Caprara ora Beauharnais, in the via delle Asse (later renamed via IV Novembre), next to the San Salvatore church. The 1826 guide describes the palazzo as:
Di bellissima architettura, che si crede del Terribilia, ed ha nella facciata inciso 1703, ma la grande aggiunta architettura, da Alfonso Torregiani. Il Cortile sul disegno del Torri. Le scale sono aggiunte con direzione di Antonio Laghi. Vi sono alcune ottime pitture, e per i moderni restauri divenuto sempre pi degno di considerazione. Quasi in faccia a questo trovasi il Palazzo Marescalchi.
Another label indicates that these paintings were displayed in the apartments of the cloakroom (guardaroba). A pair of gilt armchairs sold anonymously Sotheby's London, 11 December 1992, lot 217, as well as a North Italian black and gold-japanned commode sold Christie's, London, 25 March 1999, lot 96, bear similar labels from the 1837 Palazzo R. di Bologna inventory.