A long lost painting of royal provenance depicting the Madonna and Child Christ by Renaissance master Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) has been rediscovered recently, the Daily Telegraph reported on November 1st 2001.
This painting, the study of which was found at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, belonged to King Charles 1st of England and was then known at the “Botti Madonna” as it had formerly been in the collection of Marchese Botti, a rich Florentine merchant of the 16th Century.
It was then probably offered by the Medici family or the Vatican to Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles 1st who was residing at Somerset House. The frame in which this painting was set had two handwritten labels, one mentioning the name of Del Sarto and the other marked “So:Ho” (for Somerset House).
Following the King's execution in 1649 his collection of paintings and art works was dispersed and the Del Sarto was bought at auction for £ 55 by a Dutch painter and merchant named Remigius Van Leemput.
The whereabouts of the painting remained unknown until 1965 when it reappeared in the succession of an American collector named Laurence Boothe who himself descended from the 17th Century Royal family of England. However the reappearance of this painting passed unnoticed as it was considered as a copy at that time and bought as such by its new owners.
The Del Sarto painting will soon be exhibited at the Courtauld Institute Gallery in Somerset House, the place where it hanged until 1649.