Plague in an Ancient City

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Plague in an Ancient City

Holland, circa 1650-1652
Paintings
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 46 3/4 × 67 1/4 in. (118.75 × 170.8 cm) Frame: 62 × 84 × 5 in. (157.48 × 213.36 × 12.7 cm)
Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (AC1997.10.1)
Not currently on public view

Provenance

...

Anonymous collection, Cadiz, sold to; John Langston,(1) by inheritance to his son; Horton Langston, by inheritance to;(2) Henry W. Hope (1736–1811), London, by 1810, by inheritance to; [John Williams Hope, London](3) Henry [W.] Hope (estate sale, London, Christie’s, 29 June 1816,(4) lot 97, as Nicolas Poussin, Plague at Athens, sold for £210 to); [Norton for]; Philip John Miles (d. 1845),(5) Leigh Court near Bristol, by inheritance to his son; Sir William Miles (1797–1878), 1st Bart., Leigh Court near Bristol, M.P., by inheritance to his son; Sir Philip John William Miles (1825–1888), 2nd Bart., Leigh Court near Bristol (sale, London, Christie’s, 28 June 1884, lot 53, as Poussin, bought in),(6) by inheritance to his son; Sir Cecil Miles, 3rd Bart., Leigh Court near Bristol (estate sale, London, Christie’s, 13 May 1899, lot 23, sold as Poussin for 73 guineas 10 to); Lawrence. [Thomas Agnew and Sons, London]. Sir Francis Cook (1817–1901), Doughty House, Richmond, by inheritance to his son;(7) Sir Frederick Cook (1844–1920), Doughty House, Richmond, by inheritance to his son; Sir Herbert Cook (1868–1939), Doughty House, Richmond, by inheritance to his son; Sir Francis Ferdinand Maurice Cook (1907–1978), Doughty House, Richmond (sale, London, Christie’s, 6 July 1984, lot 116, sold to); [Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York, sold to]; Saul P. Steinberg (1939–2012), New York (sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 30 Jan. 1997, lot 34, to); LACMA.

Footnotes

(1) According to Young 1822 (the catalogue of pictures at Leigh Court), Horton Langston’s father brought the painting back from Cadiz. John Langston, Esq. of Sarsden House, Oxfordshire, was a member of Parliament from Oxford. He was married to the second daughter of Harriet, the only sister of Henry Hope, and John Goddard, Esq. of Woodford Hall, Bedfordshire. Their son was Horton Langston. 

(2) According to Young 1822, “Its [the painting’s] merits appear to have been imperfectly appreciated by Mr. Langston, who assigned it a place on the staircase of his house, in Queen Square; where for a very long period, from the darkness of the situation, it escaped observation. From this gloomy abode, it was rescued by the penetrating eye of Mr. Hope in whose Collection justice was done to its merits.” 

(3) The sale was listed as the collection of Henry Hope, Esq., deceased. See notes to the sale published by Getty Provenance Index, Sale Catalogues Database. 

(4) This was the third day of the sale that began on 27 June 1816. 

(5) Philip Miles was a banker in Bristol and began his collection about 1816. 

(6) According to an article about the sale, “The Leigh Court Gallery,” London Times, 30 June 1884, the painting was sold to Phillips for £420. 

(7) Danziger 2004, p. 450, mistakenly suggests that Sir Francis Cook acquired the painting about 1884, thus directly from the sale of Miles’s collection or shortly thereafter. On p. 449, Danziger notes, “In his will, Francis had divided the collection between his two sons: ‘the pictures and drawings, the antique sculptures and marbles, the tapestries, glass and terra cotta . . . to Sir Frederick Cook . . . whilst the bronzes, silver, ivories, china miniatures, missals, antique gems and mediaeval jewelry were left to his second son, Mr. Wyndham Cook [1860–1905].’”


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Bibliography

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  • Bauman, Guy C., and Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in America: a Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1992.
  • Sutton, Peter C. The Age of Rubens. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1993.
  • Bauman, Guy C., and Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in America: a Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1992.
  • Jeromack, Paul. "High Taste, Low Budget." Art & Auction 24, no.2 (2002): 84-93.
  • Lehmbeck, Leah, editor. Gifts of European Art from The Ahmanson Foundation. Vol. 3, Dutch Painting, Flemish Painting, Spanish Painting and Sculpture. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2019.
  • Bindman, David. Hogarth and His Times: Serious Comedy. London: British Museum Press, 1997.
  • Beckett, Sister Wendy.  Sister Wendy's American Collection, Toby Eady Associates, ed.  Harper Collins Publishers, 2000.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003.
  • Yeager-Crasselt, Lara. Michael Sweerts (1618-1664): Shaping the Artist and the Academy in Rome and Brussels. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015.
  • Marandel, J. Patrice. Abecedario: Collecting and Recollecting. Los Angeles: Art Catalogues; LACMA, 2017.

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