- Museum number
Portrait of Bianca Capello, after a miniature by Bronzino in Horace Walpole's collection at Strawberry Hill; head and shoulders of a lady dressed in elaborate white and gold costume, set within a black frame border
Watercolour with bodycolour
- Production date
- 1801-1853 (worked)
Height: 163 millimetres
Width: 128 millimetres (sheet)
- Curator's comments
- Although the inscription indicates it is based on a 'miniature by Bronzino' in Walpole's collection, Bronzino did not paint miniatures. Harding's miniature was assumed to have been based on the portrait of Cappello given to Walpole by Horace Mann in 1754 describing it as the 'Serendipity' portrait.
A correspondent from Lombardy working on images of 'Serendipity' sent a note (email, Nov. 2019) that:' Actually, in the catalogue of the 1842 sale that dispersed the Strawberry Hill collection there is a miniature of "Bianca Capella" that is attributed to Bronzino. It was lot 64 on the 14th day of the 1842 sale. Thus, Harding could directly copy that miniature and not the full serendipity painting given by Mann to Walpole. Also, on a related note, the lady in the Harding copy is much more similar to Isabella Medici Orsini (the sister of Francesco Medici, i.e. the sister-in-law of Bianca Cappello) than to Bianca Cappello herself. This could imply that the lady portrayed in the Serendipity Painting is not Bianca Cappello but Isabella Medici.
See the portrait by Alessandro Allori that is now at Palazzo Pitti.'
Walpole's attributions do not always hold up to modern scrutiny and although he may have had this miniature that Harding copied, it is unlikely to have been by Bronzino.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased with 1868,1212.614, 616, 617 but placed with Italian portrait prints so not catalogued by Binyon. Removed from Italian portait print porfolio to mounted British drawings series in 2015.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number