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Title Adoration of the Shepherds
Alternative Title The Shepherd’s Offering
Collection Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
Artist Attributed to circle of Cresti, Domenico (Italian painter, 1559-1638)
Previously attributed to Stella, Jacques (French painter and printmaker, 1596-1657)
Date Earliest about 1600
Date Latest about 1640
Description Painting on stone was a fashion particularly associated with Florence and the 'pietra dura' workshops. The artist has used a piece of veined stone as a support for this nativity scene set in the darkness of the stable at Bethlehem. In the centre, the Virgin adores her child in a manger, while on the left and right are groups of shepherds hurrying forward to adore them. Above them is an area of bright cloud with flying angels, where the stone support has been left unpainted to create the effect of cloud. The little painting is greatly enhanced by a delicate oval frame carved with roses, jonquils and other flowers, with the head of an angel at each of the four cardinal points.
Current Accession Number A187
Subject religion (nativity; adoration of the shepherds)
Measurements 16.3 x 21 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on alabaster (?)
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Miss Mary Anne Barbara Holburne 1882.
Provenance From the collection of the Count de Douglas, Nantua, France; acquired (date unknown) by Sir Thomas William Holburne.
Principal Exhibitions Masterpieces of Reality: French 17th Century Painting, Leicestershire Museums, 1985-86, cat. no. 52, as Jacques Stella; Mother and Child: Celebrating Birth, Fertility and Hope, Holburne Museum of Art, 18 May - 2 September 2001, cat. no. 15.
Publications Wright, C., Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Continental Old Master Paintings Executed before c.1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingdom, London, 1976, p. 194, as The Shepherd's Offering by Jacques Stella.

Labels (all on reverse): label from Masterpieces of Reality exhibition; printed crest with motto: 'Adversa Virtute Repello'; remains of handwritten label ‘[...] reglas / [...] Montrea [...] / [...]ntua'; printed note: 'GIACOMO STELLA / The Shepherd's Offering. Exquisitely painted on oriental / alabaster, with surprising effect of Chiaroscuro, by / this clever pupil of Albacat. no. From the collection of the / Count de Douglas at Nantua, in France / oval, 6 ½ in. high by 8 ½.' - with handwritten note: '[...] at / Jany 30.4'

Previous attributions: Catalogue of the Pictures and Library, Engravings, Etchings and Miniatures, Belonging to Sir Thomas William Holburne, Bart., Bath, 1867, cat. no. 159: 'Giacomo Stella' (front drawing room); Catalogue of the Holburne of Menstrie Art Museum by W.Chaffers, London, 1887, cat. no. 1478: 'Giacomo Stella'; F. Möckler, Holburne of Menstrie Art Museum, Bath, 1902, cat. no. 209: 'Giacomo Stella'; remarks on the paintings by Ayerst. H. Buttery, 1906, in the form of annotations to the 1902 catalogue: 'Bad (not G. Stella)'; hand written register of paintings, watercolours and miniatures, giving inventory numbers with ‘A' prefix still in use, by G. Holden, Curator 1917-1926, compiled shortly after move to Sydney Hotel, cat. no. 187: 'Italian School - Artist unknown'; Martin: 'G. Stella'; Courtauld list, 1971, cat. no. 197: Giacomo Stella; Alastair Holburne Museum Survey of Collections, 2000: probably not Stella.

Rights Owner © The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
Author Amina Wright



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