Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The pen, brown ink and wash on paper drawing, 20 x 14in (51.4 x 35.5cm), has been deemed of outstanding aesthetic quality and is one of the artist’s most imposing and impressive works on paper. It is also seen as having value as a well-documented modello for the study of the creative process of Barocci’s painting.

Its provenance is of significant interest as well. It has been in the UK since the 17th century and bears the mark of the greatest collector of drawings of the period, the painter Sir Peter Lely (1618-80). It then entered the collection of the Earls of Pembroke at Wilton, ranked second only to Chatsworth among the great 18th century aristocratic holdings of Old Master drawings. The prints and drawings from Wilton were dispersed at auction in 1917. It has been deferred at a recommended price of £1.35m until after December 11. If a serious buyer comes forward before then, a further deferral could be imposed until after March 11 in order for funds to be raised.