A Tyrolean Girl thumbnail 1
A Tyrolean Girl thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H , Case WS, Shelf R, Box Fixed Racking

A Tyrolean Girl

ca. 1700-1750 (made)
Place of origin

Pastel drawing of a girl.

Object details

Object type
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Pastel
  • Frames (Furnishings)
TitleA Tyrolean Girl (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Pastel drawing by Rosalba Carriera entitled 'A Tyrolean girl'. Venetian School, ca. 1700-1750.
Physical description
Pastel drawing of a girl.
  • Height: 43.2cm
  • Width: 35.6cm
Dimensions taken from Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1963. London: HMSO, 1964.
Marks and inscriptions
'Earl of Moira done by Rosalba from a Syracusan woman.' (Inscribed on the backing board in an 18th century hand)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Mrs M. V. Cunliffe
Object history
Bequeathed by Mrs M. V. Cunliffe in 1963.

Historical Significance: Rosalba Carriera was a sister-in-law of Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (1675-1741), one of the most important history painters in early eighteenth-century in Venice. Although the early stages of her career remain mysterious, there is a good record of her works from 1700, when Carriera began to keep the letters she received and rough copies of those she sent (Florence, Bib. Medicea-Laurenziana, MS. Ashburnham 1781; Sani 1985).

She specialised in painting miniature portraits on small pieces of ivory, which served as decoration of snuff-box lids. Her international clientele, including English, French and German travellers, maintained a strong interest in her miniatures. Apart from portraits, the subject-matter included women’s everyday activities (e.g. Flute Player, St Petersburg, Hermitage) and mythological themes connected with women’s lives (Flora, Munich, Bayer. Nmus.). Carriera is also notable for her portraits in pastel and cabinet painting.

Throughout her life Rosalba Carriera travelled extensively, often accompanying Pellegrini. She was admitted to the Roman Accademia di S Luca (1705), Accademia Clementina in Bologna (1720) and, finally, to the Royal Academy in Paris (1721). Her visit to France, which coincided with Pellegrini’s commission to paint the ceiling of the Banque Royale (1720-21; destr.), was a huge success. At the time she met many important French artists, including Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743) and Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), who had a considerable influence on her work. A portrait of Watteau by Carriera survives in Treviso (1720; Mus. Civ. Bailo.).

After her return to Italy Carriera became the court painter to the Este at Modena. She was supported by Joseph Smith (1674-1770), the English Consul in Venice and one of the most important foreign patrons in the city. Later the work commissioned by Smith was acquired by George III for the royal collections in England (e.g. A Personification of Winter, c. 1720-35, Windor Castle, Berks, Royal Col.).

In 1730 she left for Vienna, where Pellegrini was summoned to paint the cupola of the Salesian church. Carriera’s portraits from that time are more austere, with less emphasis on playfulness.

A great number of Carriera’s pastels were collected by Frederick-Augustus II, Elector of Saxony (later Augustus III of Poland; 1696-1763). The painter gained contact with the monarch through Francesco Algarotti (1712-1764), an Italian collector. The gallery in Dresden contained more than a 100 pastels by Carriera in an especially prepared room. Most of these works were either sold or destroyed in World War II.

This portrait in pastel depicts a woman in Tyrolean dress. The composition is very close to a similar version in Dresden, entitled 'A Tyrolean Innkeeper', c. 1728. Another closely comparable version is at Tatton Park (Sani, n. 269).

The work belongs to an important group of portraits in pastel by Carriera. She executed them rapidly and in large numbers, making them a popular product for English tourists. The repetition of motives and use of pastel suggest that Carriera executed her work very quickly, perhaps with just a few or no sittings required from the subject of the portrait. It has been commented that this suited foreign visitors, who could not spend a lot of time in Venice. Carriera’s work in pastel and her miniatures painted on ivory lends themselves to this working practice, which was carried out with the help of couriers and allowed her to travel extensively


Sani, B. ed.: Rosalba Carriera: lettere, diari, frammenti, 2 vols, (Florence, 1985)
Subject depicted
Bibliographic reference
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1963 . London: HMSO, 1964.
Accession number

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Record createdJune 30, 2009
Record URL
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