Cavalori is best known for the two paintings, Lavinia at the Altar and A Wool Factory, which he contributed in circa 1570-2 to the decoration of the Studiolo of Francesco I de' Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Feinberg (loc. cit., 1991-2), dating the present panel to circa 1569-70, points out that in it Cavalori 'made a remarkable approximation of Pontormo's manner of the late 1520s'. He emphasises, however, that the interest in recording the most subtle variations in the play of light (a characteristic of the artist's work) shows an understanding of - and development from - his sources of inspiration rather than a desire to imitate specific motifs, setting him apart from most of his contemporaries. The use of life drawings of studio models, a crucial element of Cavalori's modus operandi, is particularly evident in the present picture.
Sir (John) Charles Robinson (1824-1913), who sold the present picture in these Rooms in 1885, was a major figure in the London art world in the second half of the nineteenth century. He began his career as a museum curator, of the Museum of Ornamental Art in Marlborough House amongst others. Probably the greatest expert of the nineteenth century on Italian Renaissance drawings and sculputure, he helped to build up the sculpture collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and his catalogue of the Raphael and Michelangelo drawings and sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, has been described as 'perhaps the single most important contribution to scholarly connoisseurship made by an Englishman in the nineteenth century'. Robinson lost his official post in 1867, it being explained that 'whilst travelling at the public expense he had sometimes purchased works of art for himself and for his friends'. Developing these activities, he subsequently became one of the first great art historian/dealers. A founder member of the Burlington Fine Art Club, he acted as adviser to Sir Francis Cook (for whom he had in 1863 acquired the Antonello da Messina Christ at the Column offered in these Rooms on 21 April 1989, lot 122, and now in the Louvre), John Malcolm of Portalloch, Robert Napier, Matthew Uzielli and others (see F. Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art, Oxford, 1979, pp. 203-4, note 75).
Charles Loeser's posthumous sale in 1959 also included the Gentile da Fabriano Saint Paul the Hermit sold in these Rooms, 22 April 1994. Lot 55, the Jacopo del Casentino Dormition of the Virgin offered at Sotheby's, 8 July 1992, lot 24, Salvator Rosa's Jason charming the dragon now in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and a Penitent Magdalen by Crespi.