The drawing was part of an album given by Tiepolo to the Somasco convent in Venice in 1762, before he left for Spain. George Knox dated the album to the preceding eight years and described it as 'the most magnificent sustained testimony to Giambattista's graphic inventiveness', G. Knox, Tiepolo, A Bicentenary Exhibition, exhib. cat., Cambridge, Fogg Art Museum, 1970, under no. 89. Antonio Moraasi dated the drawings to the years 1755-60.
The album was dismembered after the Cheney sale in 1885. It contained 75 drawings of variations on the theme of the Holy Family: several sheets are in the Robert Lehman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (J. Byam Shaw and G. Knox, The Robert Lehman Collection, Italian Eighteenth-Century Drawings, New York, 1987, nos. 93-4), another drawing was bequeathed by Mrs. Rudolf J. Heinemann to the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, J. Bean and F. Stampfle, Drawings from New York Collections III, The Eighteenth Century in Italy, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971, no. 134. One more sheet from a private collection was exhibited at the Pirpont Morgan Library in New York, Tiepolo and His Circle in 1997, no. 84.
Drawings with the same provenance were sold at Christie's London, 1 July 1997, lot 83 and New York, 30 January 1998, lot 125.
The Duc de Talleyrand owned eleven variations on the theme of the Holy Family from the Cheney album.