- Museum number
A miracle of St Thomas of Villanueva: the saint, as a bishop, appearing to a group of figures, circular
Brush drawing in grey wash, over black chalk, heightened with white (oxidised)
- Production date
Height: 176 millimetres
Width: 177 millimetres (circular)
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 290
Upon entering the collection this drawing was registered as by Ludovico Gimignani (q.v.). Subsequently, in an undated note on the album page, Walter Vitzthum suggested an attribution to Schor; the drawing was then removed from the album, mounted and placed among the drawings by this artist.
1952,0121.7 and 1952,0121.15 are designs for scenes from the life of the Spanish saint Thomas of Villanueva and were made on the occasion of his canonisation in 1658 (Turner, 1980, p. 84). The present sheet was used as a study, in the same direction, for the third print in a series entitled 'I miracoli di San Tommaso da Villanova', published in Rome c. 1658 by Giovan Giacomo de' Rossi (Fusconi, 1985, fig.4). Drawing and print correspond almost exactly in size (Fusconi, 1985, p. 175, n. 33). Complete sets of the 'Miracoli', consisting of a frontispiece and 14 individual scenes, belong to the Kupferstichkabinett, Dresden (Fagiolodell' Arco and Carandini, 1977-8, I, pp. 177-8) and the Biblioteca Corsiniana, Rome (vol. 36 j 19; Fusconi, 1985, p.175).
The prints derive from a series of painted medallions by Schor dedicated to St Thomas of Villanueva, which hung in the arches along the central nave of St Peter's as part of the ephemeral decorations erected on the occasion of the saint's canonisation. Referred to as "Quali Medaglioni ... di disegno del famosissimo Pittore Gio. Paolo Todesco" in the 'Descrittione del sontuoso apparato della gran basilica di S. Pietro per la canonizatione di S. Tommaso di Villanova', Rome, 1658 (copy in the Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome) (Fagiolo dell'Arco and Carandini, 1977-8, I, p. 176), the roundels appear in situ in two designs by Schor for the church interior at Windsor Castle (inv. nos 11594 and 11595; Blunt and Cooke, 1960, nos 943-4; Fagiolo dell'Arco and Carandini, 1977-8, I, pp. 176-7).
Schor's designs were repeated in the marble medallions designed by Antonio Raggi in 1658-61 for the base of the dome of the church of S. Tommaso da Villanova at Castelgandolfo. The British Museum drawings are in the same direction as the two corresponding sculpted medallions.
Literature: Turner, 1980, p. 84, under no. 33; Fusconi, 1985, pp.161, 162, 175, n. 33 and fig. 3; Jaffé, 1994(b), p. 18.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- One of ninety drawings from the Cavendish album; see 1952,0121.75 for a full account of provenance.
From an album, known as the Cavendish Album, in which several drawings bear the mark of N. A. Flinck (L 959), whose collection was bought in 1723 by the 2nd Duke of Devonshire. Three of the drawings in the album were engraved by Pond with the inscription "E Museo Praehonlis Dni Dni Jacobi Cavendish". One of these engravings is dated 1734, a year in which two Lords James Cavendish were alive, the third son of the 1st Duke (d. 1751) and the second son of the 2nd Duke (d. 1741). It seems probable that the latter was the collector. There is reason to believe that the album was until about 1950 in the library of Lord Chesham, also a member of the Cavendish family. The Lord James Cavendish in question was a great-uncle of the 1st Lord Chesham.
A summary of the contents and provenance of the Cavendish Album, derived from notes by Popham at the British Museum and other more recent information written on the mounts of the drawings themselves, is given by Jaffé (1994 (a) and (b), p. 18).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number