Rosalina Scala with her Daughter
  • Giovanni Battista Lusieri
  • Rome ca. 1755 - ca. 1821 Athens
  • Rosalina Scala with her Daughter, after 1782
  • Watercolour over pen and grey ink, on paper, watermark JH & Z
  • nscribed with pencil on the verso: Sig.a Rosalina Scala
  • 305 × 257 mm
Estate of the artist
The 7th Earl of Elgin (1824)
Lord Bruce, later the 11th Earl of Elgin
Christie’s London, July 6th, 1965
P.& D. Colnaghi, London April/ May 1966
Private collection, Paris (1968-2013)
Private collection, Northern Germany
P. & D. Colnaghi, London 1966: Old Master Drawings, exh. cat. no. 56 (a girl with her nursemaid)

Giovanni Battista Lusieri, also known as Titta, was already famous during his lifetime for his typically large-scale landscape pictures of the highest painterly quality and nearly photographic precision. In the early 1780s, he settled in Naples, where such illustrious contemporaries as Lord Hamilton and Lord Elgin readily invited him as a companion on their cultural tours through Italy. Then, in 1799, Lusieri moved to Constantinople; later, as part of Lord Elgin’s entourage, he also moved to Athens, where he worked as an artistic agent for his English patron, brokering among other deals the purchase of the famous ancient sculptures from the Parthenon. The latter acquired, after Lusieri’s death, almost the entire estate from the artist’s atelier – most of which had been lost, however, when the ship Cambria sunk during the transport back to England. In 1824, Elgin received another portfolio from Lusieri’s heirs with works on paper, the majority of which are now located in the collection at the family’s ancestral residence in Broomhall.

During his stay in Naples Lusieri was interested not only in landscapes, but also in the inhabitants of that region, in their mannerisms and above all in their traditional dress, as proven by more than 60 surviving figure studies. 21 of these drawings, most of them monochrome works and only a few as colourful as the present sheet, were auctioned in 1965 at Christie’s in London.

We are grateful to Aidon Weston-Lewis for confirming the attribution of this drawing.