Marialva’s Breughel

Jan Breughel II (Antwerp 1601-1678), The story of Adam and Eve, all signed 'J. Breughel', oil on copper inset into wooden supports.

Browsing the forthcoming Christie’s Old Master Paintings catalogue of 25th January, I stopped at a wonderful set of six paintings by Jan Breughel II depicting the Story of Adam and Eve. The lushness and richness of the scenes were enough to ignite my interest but curiously enough the provenance showed me that the set had belonged in the 19th century to two collections I have had to briefly study in the past. First, to the collection of the Marquis of Marialva, Dom Pedro de Meneses, and then to the Duke of Newcastle, at Clumber Park. Dom Pedro, friend of William Beckford and Portuguese ambassador to Paris, died without direct heirs and his collection and library were sold in Paris, though later than the 1814 date noted. I wonder if this set is mentioned in the sale catalogues. Anyhow, I am now truly curious to see these wonderful paintings soon at Sotheby’s later this month.

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