- Museum number
Putti playing amongst a trellis of entwined foliage, one riding on a swan and one on a dolphin below
Pen and brown ink (some lines ruled), over black chalk and stylus, part of the trellis in the background pricked from an earlier drawing
- Production date
Height: 393 millimetres
Width: 448 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Watermark: encircled anchor.
Gere note in the interleaved copy of the 1962 catalogue: 'Another drawing in the series is in Copenhagen (6735; pen and brown ink, brown wash, reworked by Rubens in oil paint). In this the arbour is of the 'triumphal arch' shape: of the putti, one holds on his head a large basket of fruit, another (to the l. and behind him) has his l. lef over the neck of a goat, preparatory to mounting it'
Lit.: P. Pouncey and J.A. Gere, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Raphael and His Circle', London, 1962, I, no. 89 , II, pl. 82; C C. Bambach, 'Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workshop: Theory and Practice, 1300-1600, Cambridge, 1999, p. 172, fig. 156
Pouncey & Gere 1962
That the pricking preceded the drawing is clear from the way in which the pen-lines diverge from it in some places, e.g. the neck of the l.-hand swan, and from the fact that some of the pricked lines are not inked over.
Two related drawings are known, one in the Nottingham Museum ('91-138: repr. A. F. Kendrick, 'The Collector, formerly 'Old Furniture'', xi (1930), p. 218), the other in the Victoria and Albert Museum (E 4586-1910; Hartt, fig. 516). The former, a highly finished modello, repeats in the same direction the composition of 1928,0417.5 except that on the r. it ends with the nearer of the two trees and thus includes only the l.-hand and central sections of the arbour, the proportions of which have been altered so that the composition is slightly higher than it is wide. This drawing goes further than 1928,0417.5 in that it has a landscape background beyond a low trellis fence the top of which is indicated in 1928,0417.5 only by a pricked line inked over on the l. The climbing putti on the extreme l. and in the top right corner of 1928,0417.5 are omitted, as are the swan and the putto embracing a stag, both partially concealed by the r.-hand pair of trees. Since three of these four elements are those which serve to link the central and r.-hand sections of 1928,0417.5 by cutting across the division between them, it is clear that the reduction of the composition in the Nottingham drawing from three sections to two by the omission of the r.-hand section was intentional and not the result of any fortuitous trimming.
In the Victoria and Albert drawing, also more highly finished, the trees are arranged as in 1928,0417.5 but in reverse. This drawing agrees with 1928,0417.5 in height, but is 7.5 cm. wider and shows more of the l.-hand (in 1928,0417.5 r.-hand) section, which contains, in the same direction as in 1928,0417.5, the putto embracing a stag (plus a second putto on the stag's back) and the swan, both omitted in the Nottingham modello.
Two surviving tapestries embody figures occurring in this group of drawings. All the figures in one of these, in the Victoria and Albert Museum (A. F. Kendrick, 'Catalogue of Tapestries', 1924, pl. xxviii), are to be found, in reverse and in different relative positions, in the l.-hand and central sections of the Victoria and Albert drawing. This tapestry agrees essentially in proportion with the Nottingham modello (which is presumably a design for a companion panel) and likewise includes only two sections of the arbour. The composition is so awkwardly unbalanced that the panel looks like a fragment; but the border and the scene itself are woven in one piece so that the extent of the latter, like that of the Nottingham modello, must be deliberate.
The other tapestry, which shows the arms of a Gonzaga cardinal, belongs to the Marquess of Northampton (repr. 'The Collector', ut cit., p. 216). This is slightly wider than high, and represents an isolated tripartite arbour—a sort of rustic triumphal arch—composed of the same elements as that in 1928,0417.5 and the Victoria and Albert drawing, but with these differences, that the arched section is in the middle and the side sections have been made narrower and higher. Some of the figures in this tapestry occur in the r.-hand section of the Victoria and Albert drawing and others (the group of three putti playing with the hare) in 1928,0417.5.
Kendrick considered that Lord Northampton's tapestry may have belonged to the same series as the six formerly in the Cahen Collection (sale, Paris, Georges Petit, 1920,14 May; photos of all six in V. & A., Dept. of Textiles, and two repr. H. Göbel, 'Wandteppiche', Leipzig, 1928, part 11, ii, pls. 358-9), some of which likewise include the arms of a Gonzaga cardinal, identified by an inscription on one panel as Ercole (b. 1505, cr. 1527, d. 1563). Two are narrow upright panels containing one and two trees respectively; but of the four oblong panels, two contain arbours identical with Lord Northampton's. The arbours in the other two are composed of trees of roughly the same height, forming a circular grove. None of the figures in the Cahen tapestries finds its counterpart in any of the three drawings [Hartt told us that he saw a 'very large' drawing by Giulio connected with this group of tapestry designs, in the Ellesmere Collection at Bridgewater House, c. 1937. This drawing is no doubt Hartt 257 (wrongly stated to be repr.) the r.-hand two-thirds of which he claims correspond with the V. & A. drawing. It was probably no. 24 in the Lawrence Gallery, Fifth Exhibition: 'An elegant design of cupids sporting—with several swans, animals, fish, &c; pen and bistre, heightened with white ... 38 inches by 16J inches.' Repeated efforts to trace this drawing have failed].
Literature: Hartt 255.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989 Sep-Nov, Museo Civico, Mantua, 'Romano'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Bought by Parker after the sale, and subsequently recognised by him as by Giulio Romano. He then passed it on to the BM at cost price (saee report dated 22 March 1928)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number