Unknown Artist, after Pasquale de Rossi, A Girls School

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
A Girls School
c.1766 – 1725
The King's Bedroom
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 29.5 cm, Overall width: 41 cm
Unknown Artist, after Pasquale de Rossi (1641-1725)
Catalogue Number


The painting depicts a school mistress seated by a brazier giving lessons to a group of girls and smaller children. A small child studies from a tablet on the teacher’s lap, while two girls seated to the left work at their embroidery.  The picture, which has been called traditionally ‘Ayah with children’ (suggesting an Indian context), is in fact a version of a work in the Louvre, Paris (INV 260), known as La Maîtresse d’école, by the Italian baroque painter, Pasquale de’ Rossi (1641 - 1722), known also as Pasqualino Vicentino. Originally from Vicenza, de’ Rossi moved to Rome around 1666, and in 1670 became a member of the Accademia di San Luca. He also carried out work in the Palazzo Reale, Turin. Active as a painter of altarpieces, and as a copyist, de’ Rossi specialised principally in small-scale genre subjects like the present composition.

In 1788 the Irish engraver, George Keating (1762-1842), made a stipple engraving of the composition, entitled A Girls School, together with a companion print, entitled A Boys School (British Museum, 1890,0415.230 and 1890,0415.229). The prints, published by Josiah Boydell, which also exist in hand-coloured versions, were described as being after compositions by ‘Pasquilini’ in the collection of the Duke of Rutland. While RN83 is similar in most respects to the painting in the Louvre (including the colours of the figures’ clothing), there are differences shared with the Keating engraving, suggesting a possible link between it and the work copied by Keating, then in the collection of the Duke of Rutland.

by Martin Postle

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