North Italian, probably Venetian

last quarter of the 15th century

Procession of Roman Warriors on the Frieze of an Architrave

pen & brown ink & wash. 41/2 x 141/4". laid down to Skippe's ruled mount.

provenance:
John Skippe, who is traditionally thought to have acquired the bulk of his drawing collection from a monastery in Venice, ca. 1773;
by inheritance to his sister Penelope who had married James Martin;
by descent to successive members of the Martin family and eventually to Edward Holland, Mrs. Raynor-Wood, and lastly Edward Holland Martin;
Skippe sale at Christie's, London, November 20th & 21st, 1958, lot 257;
Robert Lehman, New York, who bought it at the Skippe sale.

In the introduction to the 1958 Skippe sale catalogue, A. E. Popham stated that at the request of Mrs. Raynor-Wood in 1939, he compiled a catalogue of her collection. It is to that manuscript that he referred in writing the entries for the 1958 Christie's sale catalogue. He noted that Skippe, in the 18th century, had ascribed the present drawing to Mantegna. He thought, however, the style of the drawing near Carpaccio, an opinion which is shared today by Peter Dreyer. Robert Lehman, upon acquiring the sheet in 1958, reverted to Skippe's Mantegna attribution. Recently, Keith Christensen has kindly pointed out the Lombardoesque (as in the family of architects & sculptors) character of the architecture, particularly the style of the evolved capital. The Lombardi family worked throughout the north of Italy.

An attribution to il Bambaja, Agostino Busti, has also been suggested. A pen & ink drawing by the artist after the Antique, comparable in the line which describes the figures as well as the stiffness of those figures, is found in Berlin.1 Also worth noting by Bambaja is a design for a funerary monument with a relief-like mid-section of a procession of figures on horseback and a lamb's tongue type of continuous ornament below and above it, conserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum.2
1

Peter Dreyer, I grandi diesgni italiani del Kupferstichkabinett di Berlino, 1979, Milano, p.22, fig. 10.

2

Peter Ward-Jackson, V & A Museum Catalogue, Italian Drawings, Vol One:14th-16th century, 1979, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, England, pp. 30-32, cat. #28, illus.