In 1842, after three years at the Ecole des Beaux-Art under Martin Drolling, the history and portrait painter Biennourry won the Prix de Rome. He was very much in fashion during the Second Empire and decorated the Salon rouge, Salon bleu, and Salon vert in the Tuileries Palace as well as the apartments of the Empress Eugénie and the library of Napoleon III. He also painted many portraits and received commissions for several churches in Paris including Saint-Roch, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul de Saint-Séverin, and Saint-Eustache. The present drawing is preparatory for Les Oeuvres de Misericorde, Les Vertus, in Saint-Eustache, painted in 1854. In 1864 Biennourry executed a ceiling for Saint-Etienne-du-Monde. Later he decorated the Galleries des Antiques in the Louvre.
Signed and inscribed at lower right, "Eglise St. Eustache/Chappelle des oeuvres/de misericorde/VBiennourry".
Watermark: Crowned shield with cursive monogram "SM" inside.
Daniels, David M., former owner.