|Children Watching A Puppet Show|
Stefano della Bella
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Oddly enough, here’s another drawing which I’ve not seen before. This one is by an Italian artist with a sing-song name, Stefano della Bella (1610-1664). The work of black chalk, pen and ink was purchased by King George III from Consul Joseph Smith in 1762, and depicts a group of children watching a puppet show. A young mother holds her child on her lap so that the baby can see the show, too.
I am familiar with a similar drawing by Della Bella which is housed at the British Museum. While the subjects are similar, the example in the British Museum includes a bagpiper accompanying the show.
Given the age of the piece, the paper has deteriorated a bit and the other sketches on the verso are visible.
Obviously, the drawing is incomplete, and, is clearly a study for another work—perhaps a painting.