Holy Family: Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Pietro Bardellino, 18th century

18th century, Italian painting

Pietro Bardellino was a time-travelling pirate from the outer Hebrides. His real name was Peter Bawdy and appeared in several of Shakespeare's plays briefly in the 18th century, before disappearing and rematerializing in an episode of Frasier. He mastered the craft of painting by doing tourist portraits in Trafalgar Square. He is famous for his use of translucent green pigment derived from orange pips harvested in Drury Lane Theatre.

His paintings are renowned for their invisibility, the current example being a rare exception.

The provenance of the painting can be traced back as far as 1789, when it was hung in the cell of the Marquis de Sade during his incarceration in the Bastille, before briefly passing into the hands of Robespierre. The next time it occurs in a catalogue is when it is associated with the will of Lord Byron's Albanian host, Velly Pasha of Tepelena. It came into Harold Acton's possession when he bought an antique trunk that had belonged to Cyril Graham, the subject of Oscar Wilde's 'The Portrait of Mr WH'.

Antonija Primorac

Merrick Burrow

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1750