Antonio Joli (c. 1770-1777) and Studio.
View of Agrigento, Sicily, with the temple of Concord
Oil on canvas
48 x 75 cm. (19 x 29 ½ in.)
Provenance: The Earls of Winchelsea and Nottingham Burley-on-the -Hill; Thence by descent.
The exact route this picture came through the family is unknown, but it is likely that the painting is one of the series of at least 38 views of Naples, Florence, Southern Italy, Sicily, Malta and Southern France, that John Montagu, Lord Brudenell, later Marquess of Monthermer (1735-1770), commissioned from Antonio Joli in the 1750s. He was the only son of George Brudenell (1712-1790), 4th Earl of Cardigan by his wife Mary, daughter of John, 2nd Duke of Montagu. The Dukedom of Montagu was revived for Lord Cardigan in 1766, and thereafter Brudenell was given the courtesy title of Marquess of Monthermer.
The painting would probably have been passed by descent via Sir George Bridges Brudenell (?1725-1801) who was the first son of James Brudenell (brother of George, 3rd Earl of Cardigan). Following which, like the previous lot, it is possible that painting was bequeathed to his sister Caroline d.1803 (widow of Sir Samuel Fludyer, Bt., alderman of London); thence by descent to George Fludyer (d.1837); thence by descent through the Fludyer Family, finally to Sir Arthur John Fludyer, 5th (and last) Bt., who died childless in 1922; then to Katherine Fludyer (Arthur John’s sister) who married Henry Randolph Finch of the Croft, Manton, second son of George Finch, Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland; thence by descent to the present owner.
Four other paintings by Antonio Joli, with the same provenance of ‘The Earls of Winchelsea and Nottingham Burley-on-the -Hill’, and of roughly the same dimensions, were sold at Sotheby’s, 9th December 1987, lots 25 to 29.
John Montagu, Lord Brudenell (1735-1770) was educated at Eton, and later sent to study in Paris in 1751, accompanied by his tutor Henry Lyte (1727-1791). After some three years in Paris they travelled to Italy, visiting Rome briefly in the spring of 1756 en route to Naples, where they made an exceptionally thorough exploration of the classical sites of southern Italy and Sicily; Brudenell’s Grand Tour was to last from until around 1760. It is thought that it was at this point in Brudenell’s Tour, while in Naples in 1756, that he met Antonio Joli, and the two men seem to have visited Ischia in August 1756, and in November Joli accompanied Brudenell on a tour of Sicily.
It would appear that the present work would have been one the chosen sites that Joli and Brudenell visited togther while on this trip to Sicily. The commission from Brudenell was to occupy Joli for several years, and it has been recorded that Joli was in Naples in 1759, possibly still working on the series. Of the paintings previously offered at auction from this series, the size and typical paintwork of Joli is very much apparent; of the sixteen pictures of approximately the same format as the present lot still at Beaulieu, eight are of Naples and two of Messina, while Agrigento, Palermo, Malta, Florence, Tarascon, and Avignon, which Brudenell no doubt saw en route to Genoa, are represented by single views.
 Charles Beddington, online cat. note for “A Roman Bathhouse with Christ at the Pool of Bethesda AND A ruined classical Gateway with the Raising of Lazarus, the Vatican beyond”, [http://www.charlesbeddington. com/Joli-Antonio-DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=45&tabindex=44&artis tid=6069retreived accessed 19th February 2016].
Canvas is unlined. Light rubbing to extremities, with the stretcher flexing outwards slightly, at the upper left corner, with the two/three concentric fine cracks coming out from this (see images). Fine craquelure throughout, with several localised areas of paint beginning to lift up from the canvas, with some small dots and areas of paint loss and canvas showing through (see images). One area of presumed retouching, by a later hand, to possible previous paint loss visible in the fields in the lower left foreground, above and just to the left of the two figures being 5th and 6th in from the left. Would benefit from being relined, cleaned, and possible restoration.
Pittore italiano nato a Modena nel 1700 ca. e morto a Napoli il 29 aprile
- Studiò a Modena con il Menia (Raffaello Rinaldi). Dopo un periodo
trascorso a Roma, negli studi di un membro della famiglia Galli-Bibiena
e di Giovanni Paolo Panini, lavorò come scenografo a Modena e Perugia.
Fu a Venezia dal 1735, dove venne in contatto col Canaletto ed ancora
lavorò come scenografo. Viaggiò intensamente in Europa e dalla Germania
andò a Londra, dove visse dal 1744 al 1748. Ebbe una posizione
guida nel teatro reale, Haymarket, e decorò la dimora del suo direttore,
John James Heidegger in Richmond, con paesaggi (in loco). Dal 1750 al
1754 lavorò a Madrid.
Del 1758 sarebbero i due dipinti eseguiti ad Ischia su commissione
di lord Brudenell; del 1759 sono due dipinti della partenza di Carlo III da
Napoli, oggi entrambi al Prado; dello stesso anno – a volte si indica il
triennio 1765-68 – è un paesaggio archeologico di Paestum sempre su
commissione del Lord; dal 1762 si stabilì a Napoli, dove fu scenografo del Teatro S. Carlo, fino alla sua morte avvenuta nel 1777.