15 October 2021



A family has found a Giovanni Baptista Tiepolo drawing they didn’t realize they owned in their attic. The Sitwell family of Weston Hall, U.K. found Tiepolo’s 17th century pen and ink drawing A Large Group of Punchinelli when they were cleaning their attic in preparation for an estate sale.

Tiepolo, A Large Group of Punchinelli, undated, photo credit: Drewatt’s, Newbury, U.K.

The drawing will be sold at auction in November. Its estimated value is from about $150,000 to $270,000. Tiepolo drawings are extremely uncommon in the marketplace. Similar Tiepolo drawings are in the collections of major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan, and the Getty.

Tiepolo, Punchinellos Approaching a Woman (undated) pen and brown ink and brush with brown wash over black chalk, 18,4 x 14 cm, The Getty Museum.

The Tiepolo drawing had been bought in 1936. by the grand-uncle of the current owner.

Art historians believe there are a little over one hundred drawings in the Punchinello series by Tiepolo. Punchinello, a hunchback wearing a mask, with a tall hat and white suit, made his first appearance in the 1600s in the street theatre of Venice. The word Punchinello has its origin in the Italian word for chicken.