Two stunning paintings which have gone on show at The Bowes Museum
in Barnard Castle are described as a significant addition to its important collection of 18th century masters.
The paintings - The Lover of a Venetian Lady and The Encounter of a Procurator with his Wife at Ridotto are copies of engravings by French painter and engraver Flipart of paintings by the 18th century Italian artist Pietro Longhi, who produced scenes of Venetian life.
Part of a bequest by Rosemary Claire Hunter, they have been bestowed on the Museum by the Art Fund following an application by the Museums Keeper of Fine Art, Emma House.
These two works are attributed to the Maestro dei Riflessi (follower of Longhi) or Master of the Reflections due to the sparkling nature of his brushwork, said Ms House. The works enhance the Museums important collection of Italian paintings, including landscapes by Canaletto and Guardi (given by the Art Fund), which represent the Venetian school in the 18th century.
The paintings help expand the Museums collection into the field of social scenes and life, while enhancing its collection of artefacts relating to the same period, she added.
The imagery of these paintings links them to the very fine collection of decorative arts -including the Lady Ludlow collection of English porcelain gifted by the Art Fund in 2004 - and equally fine examples of 18th Century textiles, including some fine woven silk fabrics gifted by the aristocracy to the convent of Poor Clares which were gifted to The Bowes Museum in 2009.
The paintings will hang long term in the central picture gallery, which along with its two adjacent galleries has recently undergone major refurbishment. They will sit alongside works by Goya, Boucher, Gainsborough and Reynolds as well as the previously mentioned Canaletto and Gaudi.