This half-length portrait shows Pope Clement X dressed in a red velvet cloak and hat; typical vestments of a Pope or Cardinal at the time. The work is a seventeenth-century copy after a portrait by Giovanni Battista Gaulli. It may in fact have been copied from a printed version of the portrait, made by the engraver Pierre Simon (c.1650–1710), an example of which exists in the collection of the British Museum, London. Simon’s print was made after both the original drawing (a study for the final work) and the painted version. A drawing of Pope Clement X by Gaulli exists in the Royal Collection. However, the painted version is currently untraced.
In 1761, Andrew Gifford, a Baptist minister and coin collector, presented this painting to the British Museum. Gifford had been employed as Assistant Librarian at the Museum since 1757. The painting was displayed in the Museum for many years before it was eventually transferred to the Office of Works (a former Government department, once responsible for the Government Art Collection) in 1946.
Collection of Baptist minister, numismatist and assistant librarian in the British Museum Dr Andrew Gifford (1700-1784); by whom presented to British Museum on 3 July 1761; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1946
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