Lost Tiepolo drawing turns up in Sitwells’ attic

An exquisite drawing by Tiepolo, one of the masters of Venice’s 18th century golden age, has been found in an attic, covered in bubble-wrap.

The drawing features Punchinellos, the. hook-nosed, hump-backed clowns from the Commedia dell’ Artte, a subject which fascinated Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) and which he returned to throughout his long career.

The drawing was found at Weston Hall, the Northamptonshire family seat of the celebrated Sitwell family for more than 300 years. It had been bought at a sale in 1936 by the writer Osbert Sitwell, said his great-niece Henrietta Sitwell.

“No one seemed to know where it was, or even give it a second thought until one day last year when we were sorting through the many attics of Weston” she said. “We found it wrapped in bubble wrap, leaning against the wall. As I peeled back the wrapping, I instantly recognised it as something special (having studied history of art at university). This Tiepolo drawing is one of many exciting discoveries made in the attics of Weston Hall and it was thrilling to think that such a captivating and important work of art by such a revered Old Master was just lying there gathering dust over the years”.

It will go on sale at Drewatts in Pall Mall next month with a top estimate of £250,000.

“The re-discovery of the work by Tiepolo has probably been the most important find of the auction and we are delighted to be offering it for sale for the first time in over 80 years” said Joe Robinson, Drewatts’ head of house sales. “Walking through the attics was like uncovering an Egyptian tomb, with wonderful things emerging from layers of dust. It is so rare for a collection with such history and breadth to come to the market and I feel privileged to be involved in the unveiling of a true piece of forgotten history”.



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