We are grateful to Ralph Toledano for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs; he notes that this is a good quality - for example in areas such as the façade of San Giorgio - work by the artist, painted with perhaps some workshop assistance, and dates it to circa 1738, close to his no. v./28A (R. Toledano, Michele Marieschi, Milan, 1995, p. 94, illustrated). This previously unpublished work is one of a group depicting this view that was also engraved by Marieschi in his Magnificentiores Selectioresque Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus of 1741 and of which Toledano (op. cit., pp. 94-5, nos. V.28a-d) lists four other autograph versions.
The view itself seems to be one that Marieschi himself was the first to depict. In his treatments of the composition, he intentionally exaggerates the distance to the Molo, thereby creating a contrast between the full-bodied façade of the church of San Giorgio and the elegant figures of the Fondamenta on one side and the delicate, more softly chromatic background. Both Mario Manzelli and Dario Succi have argued that some of the four versions may in fact be by Francesco Albotto (1721-1757), Marieschi's most successful and his ablest pupil, and indeed Dr. Succi, to whom we are also grateful, has proposed that the present painting is a work by the latter, datable to circa 1750. Both Toledano and Pedrocco, however, regard the group as entirely by Marieschi or unidentified pupils. The attributional question of Marieschi and Albotto (by whom only one signed work is known) having yet to be resolved, the present work is therefore offered under its present attribution.
The sale of the contents of Bostock House, near Middlewich, marks the end of an era, for the France-Hayhurst family have been at Bostock for over 200 years, and it is only the death of Dinah Frances-Hayhurst, who died without children last year, that prompts the sale. What was the main house on the estate, Bostock Hall, is a large brick mansion built in 1775 for Edward Tomkinson, the eldest son of James Tomkinson, a prominent and successful lawyer who bought the Dorfold Estate, near Nantwich, in 1754. A full-length portrait of Edward and his younger borther by Gainsborough is now in the Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bostock was built to the design of Samuel Wyatt, who also redesigned several rooms at Dorfold for James Tomkinson. Edward was a bachelor and after his death in 1792, Bostock Hall and its estate, at one time extending to 7,500 acres, was sold to James France, a descendant of an ancient Lancashire family of Liverpool merchants. It then passed in the France-Hayhurst family, who at one time also had seats in the county at Davenham Hall and Whatcroft Hall, to Dinah, daughter of George Carnegie, who died last year having assumed her mother's maiden name. The France-Hayhursts extensively remodelled and built onto the house in the nineteenth century. After the last war the Hall was considered unmanageable and the family moved to Bostock House, formerly the agent's house on the estate, in 1950. Bostock Hall became a school until it was sold in 1980 and converted into flats.