This picture, which corresponds closely with Agostino Carracci's engraving of the subject (Bartsch 116), issued in 1599, is considered by Sir Denis Mahon, for whose assistance we are very grateful, to be probably by the artist. The couple on the right correspond closely with two figures in Agostino's Reciprocal love at Vienna, which he had engraved circa 1592, and were subsequently used in Annibale Carracci's Landscape with Diana and Callisto in the Sutherland collection (D. Posner, Annibale Carracci, London, 1971, II, no. 112, where dated to circa 1598-9). The group of Pan and Cupid may imply a knowledge of Raphael's fresco of the subject in the Stufetta of Cardinal Bibbiena: the composition as a whole, indeed, demonstrates Agostino's response to Rome, where he had been working with his brother on the Palazzo Farnese frescoes. Agostino's preliminary drawing is in the Staedelisches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt (Williamson, op. cit., fig. 2). The design adumbrated in the drawing is reversed in the engraving and in the picture. The differences between the latter are analysed by Williamson (ibid., pp. 130-1): most notably, the landscape is more prominent in the picture and a city is introduced in the distant valley.
The evidence of the 1802 inventory of the Udny collection leaves little room for doubt that this is the picture of the subject then attributed to Albani and Brill. Robert Fullerton Udny (1722-1802), of Teddington, Middlesex and Udny Castle, Aberdeenshire, was the brother of John Udny, the merchant who was successively Consul at Venice and Leghorn and formed a major collection over a period of some forty years in Italy. The Consul seems to have acted as agent for his brother, who visited Italy in 1769 and 1775, and assembled notable collections of both pictures and drawings. Dr. Edward Peart, like Udny, collected both pictures and drawings.
Dr. Andrea Emiliani, for whose assistance we are also very grateful, believes that the work can be securely attributed to Agostino Carracci (written communication 3 November 1999, facsimile copy available).