Cupids with Swans

Part of a series of long, narrow panels by the Lombard artist Polidoro da Caravaggio, Raphael’s most unconventional pupil. Charles I bought it as one of 23 Italian pictures from the dealer William Frizell in 1637.

Despite being hung in a subordinate, decorative fashion beneath other pictures, there is evidence that in the 1630s Charles was hungry to acquire examples of Polidoro’s work, having heard rumour of the artist’s brilliance. The series remains in the Royal Collection today, almost intact.

Van der Doort c.1639


6 Figures playing with Swans, the sixth and last of the long, narrow frescoes

Walpole Society reference (1960): 
WS 22, № 10
Measurements (Van der Doort): 
1ft 4in x 5ft (40.6 x 152.4cm)
fresco on panel
one of the 23 Italian pictures the King bought from William Frizell
Gift / Exchange / Bought / Inherited: 
Hang notes: 
under no 9
Room description extended: 
Also called the Square Table Room
Original Manuscript page number: 
MS. Ash. 1514, f. 29
Charles II inventory c1666: 
Whitehall, no 248, 28 x 140
Identification certainty: