The mystical marriage of St Catherine, after Romanelli


The mystical marriage of St Catherine, after Romanelli; the Virgin with one hand on St Catherine’s shoulder, the other holding the infant Jesus, who puts a ring on the saint’s finger, with cherubs in the clouds all around. Stipple etching printed in red ink made by William Bailie between 1740 and 1810. The image is 18,5 x 15,5 cm (excluding text) and comes in a passe-partout

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Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (Viterbo, 1610– Viterbo, 1662) was a major Italian painter of the Baroque period, celebrated for his use of bright, vivid colors and also for his clarity of detail. Many of his works are on display in the Louvre. Romanelli was trained in Rome in the studio of Pietro da Cortona, the leading painter of his day. Born in Viterbo to Laura de Angelis and Bartolomeo Romanelli, he went to Rome at age 14 to study to become an artist, and within a few years became part of the household of Cardinal Francesco Barberini. He was a pupil in the painting studio of Pietro da Cortona, the leading painter of his day, but the two eventually quarreled and so Romanelli left. In 1639 he was elected director of the prestigious Academy of Saint Luke. With the death of Urban VIII and the accession of Innocent X, the Barberini family fell from favour and Romanelli’s patronage :ebbed. He was then summoned to work in Paris by Cardinal Mazarin, for whom he painted a fresco cycle based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. He also painted the Salle des Saisons and the Queen’s Cabinet of the Louvre for Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV. In France he was made a knight of the Order of St. Michael by King Louis XIV. Romanelli’s pupils included his son Urbano Romanelli and the painter from Visone, Giovanni Monevi. Among his paintings are Deposition from the Cross in Sant’Ambrogio della Massima, Presentation in the Temple, which was transferred to a mosaic altarpiece for the Basilica of St. Peter’s (now in the Santa Maria degli Angeli), and Venus Pouring a Balm on the Wound of Aeneas, on display in the Louvre. He also painted The Israelites gathering up Manna (Louvre); The Finding of Moses (Indianapolis Museum of Art); and a “Sibilla” in the Museo di Capodimonte of Naples.


William Baillie (1723–1810) often known as “Captain William Baillie” was an Irish printmaker. Baillie was born at Kilbride, County Carlow, on 5 June 1723. He was educated at Dr. Sheridan’s school in Dublin, and at about the age of eighteen his father sent him to London to study law. However he decided to follow the example of a younger brother and join the army. After some opposition from his father, he was allowed to accept of a commission offered to him by Lord Archibald Hamilton, in the 13th Regiment of Foot. He joined the regiment as the senior ensign before the battle of Lafeldt, where he carried the colours. He served with this regiment for many years, and was at the battle of Culloden, and at several engagements in Germany. He then became an officer in the 51st Regiment and was with them as captain of the grenadiers and paymaster at the battle of Minden. He then spent some time in the 17th Light Dragoons before selling his commission. He made his first etchings while still in the army. The earliest dated ones, from 1753, depict soldiers, one a named member of his regiment. He was largely self-taught as an artist, though he had some lessons from his fellow Irishman, Nathaniel Hone. After leaving the army in 1761, Baillie devoted his life to the arts, although from 1773–95 he also held the post of Commissioner of Stamps. He made prints in various styles, first exhibiting his work with the Society of Artists in 1762, but his most notable productions were those in the style of, or directly copied from, the etchings of Rembrandt. To imitate Rembrandt’s effects of chiaoscuro, he used mezzotint, a technique not employed by the Dutch artist. He also obtained the badly worn original plate of Rembrandt’s “Hundred Guilder Print” and reworked it. When a limited number of impressions had been made, the plate was cut into four pieces, and impressions taken from the individual sections.  His main business however was as a picture dealer, acting as agent for the Earl of Bute and Lord Liverpool among others. His works were published in two folio volumes by John Boydell, in 1792,under the title of A Series of 225 Prints and Etchings after Rembrandt, Teniers, G. Dou, Poussin, and others. He died at Paddington, London, on 22 December 1810.