Collection Online
The Immaculate Conception
oil on canvas
235.0 × 208.0 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1948
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

During the seventeenth century Murillo was the most important artist working in Seville, a major artistic centre in Spain. His distinctive naturalistic style gives his works great charm and veracity. Murillo’s most spectacular compositions are of the Immaculate Conception. The Catholic belief that the Virgin Mary was conceived without the taint of original sin received ardent support from Spanish religious orders, which accounts for the many versions of this subject painted by Murillo.


English, mid–18th century, surface not original

The frame surrounding Murillo’s Immaculate Conception is most likely English, made during the ownership of the painting by Sir Sampson Gideon (1745-1824). The painting is recorded in his collection in 1759.
It reflects British Rococo stylistically and the very elaborate form of the carving is enhanced by the as-symmetry notable in passages of ornament, principally in the centre top and bottom. The frame has been regilded at least once and perhaps now lacks some of the subtle articulation of surface it might once have carried.
The four sections of the frame are intended to be taken apart for travel. The corners are held together with tie-bolts, located horizontally, the corner joints being square cut on the face rather than mitred.
A number of designers and makers could be the source of this frame.
Thomas Johnson (active c.1755-63). Matthias Lock (active c.1740-70). Henry Copland (active 1746-66). John Linnell (1729-96).
The frame is one of a number of interesting frames in the collection which are stylistically out of sequence with the paintings they surround. Notable other examples are the frames on Poussin, The Crossing of the Red Sea (1843-4), van Dyck Countess of Southhampton (1246-3) and Ribera, The Martyrdom of St Lawrence (2006.390) , all paintings from the seventeenth century with frames from later periods.

Unknown - 18th century

carved timber and gold leaf.


Losses in the carved timber restored 1990.