Francesco de Mura was a student of the great Neapolitan painter Francesco Solimena (1657-1747). He executed decorations of the Royal Palace in Naples for Carlo di Borbone (1716-1788), King of the Two Sicilies, and also worked in Turin for Charles Emmanuel III (1701-1773), Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia. The present painting is a bozzetto for a fresco in the Certosa di San Martino in Naples, completed in 1757 (see A Taste for Angels: Neapolitan Painting in North America, 1650-1750, exhibition catalogue, New Haven, Sarasota, and Kansas City, 1988, p. 267, fig. 118). Along with the Annunciation, De Mura frescoed an Assumption and a Visitation for the chapel dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin in that church. An Annunciation painted in Naples in 1712 by Paolo de Matteis (1662-1728) for Aurora Sanseverino (1669-1730), Duchess of Laurenzano, may have provided inspiration for De Mura's work.
Anonymous sale; Bonhams, London, 9 December 1993, lot 94, as 'Follower of Solimena', where acquired by the present owner.