Virgin and Child with Six Angels

Virgin and Child with Six Angels
Cast from a model by Luca della Robbia (Italian, 1400-1482)
mid 15th century
Glazed terracotta roundel 
15-3/4 in. (40.0 cm) diameter 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

Sir John Pope-Hennessey, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and renowned scholar of the Italian Renaissance, remembered seeing this small roundel at the home of the humanitarian Violet Mond, Baroness Melchett (1867–1945), and thinking it looked “good and genuine.” In 1971, the worn areas of the glaze and losses in the fired clay he had seen on the relief had disappeared under a layer of terracotta-colored paint and plaster. This was apparently done “to produce a more acceptable and even surface,” in Pope-Hennessey’s words. Mr. Simon took Pope-Hennessey’s advice and had a conservator remove these accretions, revealing the surface visible today. There remained, however, uncertainty about the attribution to Luca della Robbia, or even whether it might be a later copy, as many such roundels exist.

In 2012, thermoluminescence analysis was performed on powdered samples taken from the roundel, yielding a result consistent with a mid-fifteenth-century firing date. This new information supports the inclusion of the Norton Simon roundel with other copies Wilhelm von Bode attributed to Luca in 1900.


Sir Charles Locke Eastlake (1793-1865), by inheritance to his wife;
Elizabeth Rigby, Lady Charles Eastlake (1809-1893), sold (London, Christie’s, 5 July 1894, lot 47) to;
[Charles Davis, London].
Dr. Ludwig Mond (1839-1909), by 1905, by inheritance to his son;
Alfred Moritz Mond, the Right Honorable Lord Melchett (1868-1930), by inheritance to his wife;
Violet, Lady Melchett. 1930, to her “legatee" (London, Sotheby’s, 18 June 1946, lot 112) to;
[Duveen Brothers, New York (stock no. 30007), sold 1965 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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