Photo credit: Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery
Shropshire Museums has been contacted with details of another contemporary version of this painting. We suspect they are both copies made of a popular 'Old Master' but does anyone know the artist and title of the original? There is a Windsor and Newton stamp on the canvas and the corner of an old label but nothing else. We have very little provenance for it - Bequeathed by Mr Denton 1965.
This particular design of Winsor & Newton stamp was common between about 1888 and 1905. See the guide to canvas stamps, "Part 10 Winsor & Newton canvas" on the page on the National Portrait Gallery website, https://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/artists-their-materials-and-suppliers/
The boy looks Italian, wearing country or peasant clothes, and what may be a religious medal.
Is it possible to get a high-resolution close-up of the lower right corner? Perhaps it is nothing, but there might be a faint signature there.
Perhaps it is a painting inspired by Neapolitan Fisher Boy by Gustav Karl Ludwig Richter, which was widely copied:
It is certainly in the same vein, Andrew.
The necklace no doubt holds a Catholic religious medal, very commonly worn by children, possibly a St Christopher medal.
This sort of genre picture, quite possibly meant for a non-Italian market, was not intended as a portrait of a specific person but as a type, so the title need not use the words "portrait" or "unidentified." Something like "Italian Boy with Straw Hat" is more apt.
Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. Will will add the information provided to our database record.
The zoom into the bottom right corner on the high resolution images show no sign of a signature.