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Title Capriccio of an Italian Port with the Church of SS Trinità dei Monti
Alternative Title A Mediterranean Port Scene
Collection Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Artist Storck, Abraham (Dutch painter and draftsman, 1644-1708)
Date Earliest possibly about 1675
Date Latest possibly about 1700
Signed yes
Description A capriccio of an Italian port, with the Roman church of SS Trinità dei Monti in the background to the right. In the left foreground is a ship, bearing the papal insignia combined with an approximation to the Medici family arms. Other smaller insignia flank that of the pope, and an image of a saint appears below the papal insignia. On the quayside in the foreground are various figures lounging about, and barrels, sacks and other paraphernalia. There are a couple of small boats in the foreground right.
Current Accession Number TRURI:1924.86
Inscription front ll (on a rock) 'A: STORCK'
Subject landscape; marine ; buildings and gardens; figure
Measurements 54.5 x 74.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Alfred A. de Pass 1924.
Principal Exhibitions Marine Painting, Plymouth Art Gallery and Museum, 1969, cat. no. 6.
Publications Penrose, G., Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Miniatures in the Alfred A. de Pass Collection, Truro, 1936, cat. no. 22, p. 8, ill., as A Mediterranean Port by Abraham Storck, Amsterdam School; Wright, C., Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Continental Paintings Executed Before c. 1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingdom, London, 1976, p. 195, as by Abraham Storck.

The church of SS Trinità dei Monti was rebuilt in its present form at the end of the sixteenth century, and is properly located at the top of the (eighteenth-century) Spanish Steps in Rome. Although the ship bears something like the Medici arms, the last Medici popes were Pius IV (1559-65) and Leo XI (1605), it seems this unlikely the work is intended to record a particular historical event associated with them. This picture is not unique in Storck's oeuvre in including a famous Roman landmark in a imaginary harbour setting.

Ab Hoving, expert in marine painting at the Rijksmuseum and currently at the National Maritime Museum, stated the work ‘could very well be an Abraham Storck, or a copy'. Axel Ruger, National Gallery curator of Dutch painting, was also inclined to believe it is autograph.

Alfred A. de Pass (1861-1953) was born in South Africa, where his father and grandfather had established a business empire which included interests in shipping, guano, copper mining and sugar farming. After retiring from the family firm at age 36, Alfred pursued his interest in art collecting. For a period he lived in Cornwall, where he took an active interest in the Truro museum, then called the Royal Institution of Cornwall. In 1917 he was elected Associate of the Institution and in 1920 became its Vice-President. His gifts to the museum between 1914 and 1947 included many works of Western European fine and decorative art, including an important collection of old master drawings, as well as Oriental paintings, ceramics, metal work and textiles. For a list of Mr de Pass' donations of Western European paintings and drawings to the Truro museum up to 1936 see G. Penrose (cited below). He also donated to a number of other museums, including the National Gallery, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam, and the South African National Gallery.

Biographies and discussion of Mr de Pass' interests and donations may be found in: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The De Pass Collection: Paintings, Furniture, Ceramics etc., Illustrated Catalogue, Bristol, 1936; Popham, A.E., An Exhibition of Drawing from the Alfred A. de Pass Collection belonging to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, London, 1957; Walker, R., The De Pass Family, unpublished dissertation, Bristol Polytechnic, 1979; Price, B.D., Biographical Notes on Alfred Aaron De Pass (1861-1952) Art Benefactor Extraordinary, Falmouth, 1982; Nail, N., ‘The Cornish curator and the cosmopolitan collector: a note on George Penrose, 1876-1951, and Alfred de Pass, 1861-1953', Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1993, New Series II, I, 3, pp. 277-89; Berriman, H., ‘Introduction' in M. Joannides, Exhibition Catalogue of Master Drawing from the De Pass Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, London, 1994, pp. 7-11; Tietze, A., The Alfred de Pass Presentation to the South African National Gallery, exhibition catalogue, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, 1995; Irvine, G., and T. Daniel, Japanese Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall, 2001.

The autograph quality of the work was supported by Ab Hoving of the Rijksmuseum & Netherlands Maritime Museum.

Rights Owner Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Author Dr Susan Steer



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