Inscribed in pen and brown ink above design, "CANTO VIII. Ott. 52 / Eclairé du milieu". Collector's mark of the Comte Nicholas A. Koucheleff-Bezborodko stamped in blue at lower right corner (Lugt 1629).
Watermark: unidentified fragment.
This sheet belongs to an ensemble of eighteen preparatory sketches (seven for vignettes and eleven for headpieces) for illustrations and two prints after Cochin for an 1784-85 edition of Torquato Tasso's "La Gerusalemme Liberata" published in Paris by François Ambroise Didot. These illustrations were commissioned by Monsieur, the Comte de Provence and the brother of Louis XVI who later reigned as Louis XVIII (1755-1824). The eighteen drawings were part of an album of 102 drawings broken up and sold in several lots by Sotheby's, London, in 1970.
The present sheet is the preparatory drawing for the headpiece to Canto VIII, Ott. 52 of "La Gerusalemme Liberata". The corresponding finished drawing is in the Spencer Collection at the New York Public Library and is signed and dated by the artist.
Tasso, Torquato, 1544-1595. Gerusalemme liberata.
Koucheleff-Bezborodko, Nicolas A., Comte, 1834-1862, former owner.
Suchtelen, J. P. van, Comte, 1751-1836, former owner.
Wasserman, Eugène von, former owner.
Willems, Jacques, 1870-1957, former owner.
Stein, Adolphe, former owner.