Joseph Interpreting the Dreams of Pharoah's Chief Butler and Baker
Not on view
Genesis (40.1-23) tells how Joseph, unjustly imprisoned in Egypt by Potiphar, correctly interprets the dreams of pharoah's baker and butler. This will eventually lead to his release and appointment as chief minister to the pharoah. Joseph stands here between the baker who leans on his elbow and looks at a basket of bread, and the butler who squeezes a bunch of grapes into a cup. When the print was made, the related painting was attributed to Ribera, known as 'Lo Spagnoletto' (the Little Spaniard).
The presence of this engraving at the front of the Walpole Album indicates that the related painting entered the collection of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745) after Horace Walpole had finished his description of where works were installed at Houghton Hall. Formerly part of the De Piles collection in France, the painting came up for auction in London in 1742 and must have been acquired by the 1st Earl after that date. In 1748, after his father's death, Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (1701-1751) sold the work and it belonged to the Earl of Bessborough when Boydell published this related engraving.