follower of Jacopo Bassano, The Entry into Noah’s Ark

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
The Entry into Noah’s Ark
? mid-17th century
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 138 cm, Overall width: 111 cm
follower of Jacopo Bassano
Catalogue Number


The dry paint-handling, rather weak drawing and bright, slightly acidic, colouring of this canvas suggest that it was painted by a later follower of Jacopo Bassano and his sons. The Bassano studio had a vast after-life and Bassanesque compositions continued to be produced into the late seventeenth century and beyond by members of the clan, as well as by outsiders and imitators. Dr Carlo Corsato, who assisted in the compilation of this entry, does not think this painting is by any member of the Bassano family nor by any of those followers that he can identify, such as Scagiaro or Apollonio, and has suggested, from a photograph, that this painting probably dates from the mid-seventeenth century.1

The composition does not follow precisely any known treatment of the subject by Jacopo Bassano or any of his sons; it largely follows the right-hand half of The Entry into Noah’s Ark in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden (Inv. 258A), attributed by Edoardo Arslan to Gerolamo dal Ponte (1566–1621).2 A more extensive search would probably reveal sources for peripheral elements. Both family members and followers mixed and re-arranged components of the repertoire established by Jacopo Bassano and his sons, and such confections obviously had a wide market.

Notwithstanding its pedestrian execution, the present picture intelligently modifies the horizontal composition of the Dresden canvas for an upright format, and the effect is attractive and decorative. 

The present painting entered the collection at Mells in the late 1970s via Anne Palairet, mother of the present Earl of Oxford and Asquith, who inherited it from her mother, Mary Palairet (1895–1977).

by Paul Joannides


  1. Dr Carlo Corsato, private communication, 2019.

  2. Edoardo Arslan, I Bassano, 2 vols, Milan: Ceschina, 1960, vol. 1, p. 288; vol. 2, pl. 348.


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