The de Brécy Tondo and it's relationship with Raphael's Sistine Madonna
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PROVENANCE

Mrs Violet Hope Fairbairn Wynne-Eyton (1892-1981) of Leeswood Hall, Mold, North Wales, hung the Tondo above the open fireplace in her bedroom. The painting was known to have existed in the Wynne-Eyton family art collection for generations [1]. The collector, the late George Lester Winward, acquired it from her Executors on 3 December 1981 at an auction sale conducted at Leeswood Hall by Henry Spencer & Sons of Retford, Nottingham - lot 249.

Historical research [2] propounds that the picture belonged to Sir Richard Wynn (1588-1649), a member of the influential and aristocratic Welsh family the 'Wynns of Gwydir' and subsequently to the prestigious art collection of his descendant Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Fourth Baronet (1749-89). Mrs Wynne-Eyton was related to both, as the Wynne-Eytons are a cadet branch of the Williams-Wynn family.

Infra-red examination of the painting's reverse flap of canvas revealed a monogram, which accords with the personal monogram of Queen Henrietta Maria. Sir Richard Wynn was Treasurer and Receiver General to Henrietta Maria from 1629 to 1649 and, as such, responsible (inter alia) for settling accounts relating to her art collection, much of which came by gift from the Vatican to bolster her Catholic faith. Lothian recounts that Queen Henrietta Maria owed money to Sir Richard Wynn in respect of a substantial loan. Thus the Tondo might have passed to Sir Richard on account of such debt, or as a gift to him from the Vatican for services rendered.

1. Charles Wynne-Eyton, Daily Post, 13 May 1992
2. Dr M Lothian, The Methods Employed to Provenance and to Attribute Putative works by Raphael, Ph.D. Thesis, 1991, pp. 209-235 and 254-265. The de Brécy Trust, to date.

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