The Leeswood Tondo


The Tondo, a painting of a detail of the image of the Madonna and Child in Raphael's Sistine Madonna, was bought at auction in 1981 from the property of Mrs.Violet Wynne-Eyton of Leeswood, near Mold in North Wales.

Both Mrs.Wynne-Eyton's grandmothers Mere Mainwarings, an influential local family with important paintings in their collections. She married Alan Fairbairn, whose mother was the niece of William Fuller Maitland, one of "the most distinguished collectors in England since 1792", according to Dr.Waagen581. There was at least one Fuller Maitland painting in the Leeswood collection582. The Wynne-Eytons are a cadet branch of the Williams-Wynn family, who in the eighteenth and nineteenth century amassed a collection of Old Masters paintings, and also patronised contemporary artists.

All of these generations could have acquired The Tondo by purchase, either in Italy on the Grand Tour, or in London, or in North Wales, from a dealer, a sale-room or by private treaty. If this were the case then there would have been some mention of the picture in family papers, inventories or auction-house records. No mention of The Tondo has so far been found in these archives.

That there is no mention of The Tondo in the inventories of the Wynn collections certainly does not preclude it from having been in the possession of the Wynn family. The parallel cracking 'of The Tondo’s paint suggests that it has been rolled and stored for some time. The probable freshness of the colours in the painting also suggests that The Tondo has been in storage.

Excerpt from Dr Murdoch Lothian's PhD thesis 'The Methods Employed to Provenance and to Attribute Putative works by Raphael'