This drawing was given by the painter, dealer, and cicerone Thomas Jenkins to the wife of William Weddell (1736-1792), one of his most important patrons. Weddell, of Newby Hall in Yorkshire, made the Grand Tour in 1764-5 and formed, largely through Jenkins, a large collection of antiquities of which his most prized piece was the famous Barberini Venus, sold in these Rooms, 13 June 2002, lot 112.
Weddell bought the Venus for an undisclosed and reputedly astronomical sum. The circumstances of the sale were shrouded in mystery as Weddell also paid an annuity that ceased with death and, being always personally paid, the amount remained unknown. Jenkins told Thomas Robinson, Weddell's kinsman who had provided their introduction: 'My Venus is also sold but I have orders not to say to whom'. Jenkins had experienced much difficulty in obtaining permission for export 'which would never have been obtained had it not been for the fortunate Circumstances of its being a Naked female'. The lettera di passo for the Venus was successfully obtained on 17 May 1765 (Christie's catalogue, 13 June 2002). Weddell died in 1792, in rather dramatic circumstances, after having taken a cold bath in the celebrated Roman Bath on Surrey Street on the Strand, leaving his wife Elizabeth and no children. His estate was left to his nephew Lord Grantham.
Vincenzo Brenna was an architect and popularizer of the Pompeiian style, inspired by antique painting. With Franciseck Smuglewisz he produced the first publication on ancient paintings found in the Golden House of Nero in Rome in about 1781. Brenna went to Poland with Smuglewisz a number of times and in late 1783 went to Russia. There, at first in association with Charles Cameron and afterwards in late 1786 on his own, he carried out the decoration of Pavlosk for Tsar Paul I. He was later chief architect to the Tsar.