- Museum number
Half-length figure of St Gregory, seated on a throne, looking up to left
Pen and brown ink
Turner and Plazzotta 1991
His body faces forward and he looks upwards to the left; his right hand rests on the arm of his throne.
- Production date
Height: 147 millimetres
Width: 174 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Turner and Plazzotta 1991
Mahon connected this drawing with a painting in his own collection, the 'St Gregory the Great with Sts Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier' of c.1625-6 (Salerno, 1988, no. 112). Certainly the pose of the saint in the drawing is similar to that of the figure in the picture, but the direction of the lighting is different and there are some discrepancies of detail, such as the absence in the drawing of the book in the saint's lap. Indeed the pen-and-ink style is more in keeping with Guercino's practice of the 1640s (see, for example, the study for the figure of 'St Cecilia' in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle; Mahon & Turner, 1989, no. 105).
A copy of 1943,1113.12 by Sir Joshua Reynolds, one of three pen-and-ink drawings said to be by Reynolds after Guercino, was formerly on the London art market (sale, Christie's, 20 November 1979, one item (repr.) in lot 5; the three drawings were included in an extra-illustrated copy of Edmund Malone's 'Testimonies to the Genius and Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds', 1762) and is now in an English private collection. The Reynolds copy (which is illustrated by Byam Shaw, 1983, p. 490, fig. 94) is inscribed in pencil at the bottom : "Drawn by Sir Joshua Reynolds, from Guercino". Interestingly, another drawing from the small group of mostly pen-and-ink studies presented to the Museum in 1943 by Eric Rose seems also to have been copied by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The copy was in the collection of his master Thomas Hudson and is now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (see 1943,1113.18 and Turner and Plazzotta 1991, fig. 22). It was apparently Hudson who was responsible for encouraging Reynolds to copy the drawings of Guercino (see Turner and Plazzotta 1991, cat. no. 126).
Of the many drawings by Guercino copied by Sir Joshua, several can be shown to have been in the Bouverie collection. This led Mahon (1967, under no. 45; 'Disegni', 1969, under no. 225) to suggest that the copies may have been drawn after the originals had passed into the collection of the Hon. Edward Bouverie, portraits of whose wife Reynolds had painted (see Introduction to Turner and Plazzotta 1991). The existence of Reynolds's copy after 1943,1113.12 might presuppose that the latter was also once in the Bouverie collection.
Literature: Mahon, I disegni del Guercino della Collezione Mahon, Bologna, 1967, under no. 12; Mahon, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591-1666): Catalogo critico dei disegni, exh. cat., Bologno, Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, 11 September -18 November 1968; second corrected edn, October 1969, under no. 102; Byam Shaw, The Italian Drawings of the Frits Lugt Collection, 3 vols., Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 1983, under no. 355; Mahon & Ekserdjian, Guercino Drawings from the Collections of Denis Mahon and the Ashmolean Museum, exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 29 April-22 June 1986 and London, Hazlitt, Gooden and Fox, 15 October-12 November 1986, under 14; Salerno, I Dipinti del Guercino, Rome 1988; Mahon and Turner, The Drawings of Guercino in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, Cambridge, 1989.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number