Beautifully preserved and in its original frame, this picture was the first French neo-classical work to enter the Manchester Art Gallery.

Gauffier won the Grand Prix in 1784 and settled in Rome, moving to Florence in 1793. Here he was much patronised in British and Russian expatriate circles, and painted many small portraits and conversation pieces, both in interiors and the open air. As a history painter he worked in the purest tradition of the neo-classical period, the present picture, which was painted in Florence, being an excellent example. However, he also painted landscapes from nature in a much freer style which anticipates the great landscape painters of the 19th century.

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