Lower right: M ESSIRE H E E [...] / D E H A L M A [...] / B A R O N.D E.[...]
Possibly sold by a descendant of the sitter to Thomas Purvis, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London [see note 1]; June 1, 1849, Purvis sale, Christie's, London, lot 139, to T. P. Smyth, London, for £98.14; until at least 1883, still with Smyth [see note 2]. Eleanor Lucy de Falbe (d. 1899), London and Luton Hoo Park, England; May 19, 1900, posthumous de Falbe sale, Christie's, London, lot 87, to "Speyer" on behalf of a syndicate of dealers for £425.5, and acquired by Blakeslee Galleries, New York [see note 3]; 1900, sold by Blakeslee to Francis Bartlett, Boston; 1909, gift of Bartlett to the MFA [see note 4]. (Accession Date: February 25, 1909) NOTES:  According to William Stirling, Annals of the Artists of Spain (London, 1848), vol. 3, p. 1401, the painting--at that time attributed to Velázquez and in the possession of Purvis--was "purchased in Flanders from the subject's descendant, who would not part with the picture until he had cut out the coat of arms. The excerpt, however, was afterwards obtained for a trifle from the vendor's servant, and replaced in the canvass" (sic).  Smyth lent the painting to the exhibition "Manchester Art Treasures" (Manchester, 1857), cat. no. 782, and it was still in his possession at the time of the publication by Charles Boyd Curtis, Velázquez and Murillo (London, 1883), pp. 68-69, cat. no. 162.  In a letter to Francis Bartlett (November 24, 1900), T. J. Blakeslee wrote that "the painting was bought by a syndicate of dealers [at the de Falbe auction] for £425 and I bought the picture during the progress of the sale."  Accessioned as a work attributed to Peter Thys.
Gift of Francis Bartlett