Thursday, 16 August 2012

Francesco Fieravino il Maltese (or not)

Francesco Fieravino was born on the island of Malta (c1610 - 1670).  Little is known about the man himself or with whom he studied. He travelled to Rome in the early 1630s and by 1640 had gained wide acclaim for his still life’s. Most notable are his paintings of tapestries, rugs, and fine metalwork in a baroque style using a palette of rich reds, oranges and ambers which he applied with heavy deliberate brush strokes.

He is probably better known as Francesco “il Maltese,“ a nickname he assumed from his place of birth.

Two of his paintings hang in the Billiard Room, however they are not by il Maltese as was originally thought, for following careful examination and partial cleaning by Alistair Lang - the National Trust art adviser, it turns out they are reproductions by French artist Jacques Hupin, who painted in the mid 17th century. They were installed by the Jenners when they remodelled this room and passed on to Alexander Keiller when he purchased the property from them.

Above the fireplace; a ‘Still Life with a Rich Rug, a Gold Plate, a Nautilus Shell Cup Topped with a Cupid and a Bust of Diana - Greek Goddess of the hunt.’ Oil on canvas, 75 x 121 cm (estimated)
Above the door; a Still Life with a Rich Rug, Salver and Sweetmeats. Oil on canvas, 113 x 144 cm

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