This is a version of the work on panel in the Princeton Art Museum, dated to circa 1620-24, itself in turn an autograph small-scale version of the fresco of the Assumption in the Rivaldi Chapel of S. Maria della Pace, Rome. The Princeton picture is one of the earliest examples of Albani painting a cabinet version of a full-scale composition, presumably for a patron who desired a ricordo of the fresco; it may be that the present picture was painted to fulfill a similar request.
The writer, collector and artist John Ford was educated at Winchester and at Trinity College, Oxford before going on a Grand Tour. In 1830 he went to Spain, where, over three years, he made more than 500 drawings, which comprise the most complete pictorial record of Spanish cities and their monuments before the advent of photography. Whilst in Spain, he formed the nucleus of a collection of Spanish pictures, a large part of which he subsequently sold. The auction, on 9 June 1836, included seven paintings attributed to Murillo (for example the Two Franciscan Monks in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa) and Zurbarán's Saint Serapion (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut). Ford subsequently became an acknowledged expert on Spain, leading the publisher John Murray to invite him to write the Hand-book for Travellers in Spain, which remains a valuable source-book. While writing the Hand-book, Ford published a short life of Velázquez which was recognized by Carlo Justi as the best appreciation of that artist in the English language. As a collector, Ford's taste was catholic and not confined to Spanish art; to the family collection of works by Richard Wilson he added drawings, prints and engravings, waxes and bronzes by Giambologna, porcelain figures from the Doccia factory and, after a visit to Rome in 1840, marble reliefs by Pierre-Etienne Monnot and a fine collection of Italian maiolica.