This study derives from the series of grotesque heads by Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo's original does not seem to survive, but a similar head can be found on a sheet attributed to Leonardo's close friend and follower Francesco Melzi, now in Windsor (RL 12493). Leonardo's original, featuring the same conical hat with the tuft of hair and two long plaits, is also recorded (in reverse) in an etching by Wenceslaus Hollar dated 1665. The present sketch seems to date from the sixteenth century and, in style, most closely relates to Francesco Salviati. It used to be part of the so-called 'Sagredo-Borghese' album, which was assembled probably in the eighteenth century by a Venetian collector. The sheet is still attached (with its characteristic hinges) to the page from the album, bearing the former catalogue number ('S.F. [Scuola Fiorentina] no. 156')
Gordon, Margot, former owner.