Burlington House cartoon

Burlington House cartoon(Virgin and Child with St Anne and the Infant St John), 1499-1500 or 1508?

Charcoal, with white chalk heightening, on brownish paper, mounted on canvas, 141.5 x 106.5cm London, National Gallery


The cartoon, which is made up of eight sheets of paper of the so-called folio real size , was probably glued onto a canvas between 1763 and 1779, whereby the individual sheets, saturated with glue, somewhat shrank as they dried out.
In 1987, the cartoon was attacked with a sawn-off shotgun from a distance of approximately seven feet, and caused extensive damage in the area of the upper body of St Anne in 1987. The edge of the cartoon, and previously partially concealed, were thereby exposed. Earlier restoration were carried out in the 18th century and in 1826 and 1962.
The cartoon shows no clearly recognizable signs of having actually been transferred onto a support. Apart from a few minor gaps and contradictions in the 16th and 17th centuries,
the provenance of the Burlington House Cartoon is well documented overall.

The earliest reference to this cartoon is by Giorgio Vasari who says that the work was created while Leonardo was in Florence, as a guest of the Servite Monastery.
After Leonardo's death, the cartoon passed into the possesion of Bernardino Luini, whose Holy Family is directly derived from Leonardo's composition.
According to the Milanese painter and art theoretician Gian Paolo Lomazzo, the cartoon was still in the possession of Aurelio Luini, Bernardino's son, towards the end of the 1500s.
In 1614 a cartoon of the Virgin and Child with St Anne and the infant St John, probably identical with the Burlington House cartoon, surfaced in the estate of Pompeo Leoni in Milan.
Towards the end of the 1600s Padre Resta saw the cartoon in Galeazzo Arconati's collection in Milan. From 1721 it was briefly in the possession of the Casnedi family, also in Milan, before passing into the Sagredo collection in Venice.
In 1763 it was purchased by Robert Udny and in 1779 passed to the Royal Academy of arts in Burlington house in London. In 1962 it was sold to the National Gallery for £800,000.