We are very grateful to Sir Denis Mahon for confirming the attribution, given after inspection in the original.
The composition of the present work derives from a painting by Guido Reni of 1627 in Rome, Doria-Pamphilj Gallery, which was much copied by his studio (D.S. Pepper, Guido Reni a complete catalogue of his works, Oxford, 1984, no. 115). Gessi has, however, departed from his model, for example by placing the Virgin's hands across her chest, whereas in Reni's original her hands are at prayer, and in the pose of the sleeping Christ.