A detailed watercolor over ink and slight highlighting with gum Arabic of a man with a donkey loaded with two conical panniers of fresh vegetables approaching a man working at a board over a large cask of water with a stand of fresh vegetables behind him. The man with the donkey is probably from the country and trying to sell his produce to the stall owner. The page is roughly 12 7/8 x 16 5/8 inches (33 x 42 cm). The opening for the image is 11 ¼ x 14 ¼ inches (28.5 x 36 cm). Immediately beneath the image is faintly signed in ink, “Michela de Vito” and beneath that also in ink the title, “Venditore di Vedura.”
Michela de Vito is an elusive figure who may have been the daughter or the sister of Carmillo de Vito a painter of gouaches in Naples. There are a fair number of her watercolors depicting everyday life in Naples from around 1850 and others that depict the costume of the time.
Condition: considering how badly framed and matted with acidic board the drawing has been it is still in fair condition. The paper is generally toned, there is a slight water stain along the upper left edge and the mat line left by a previous mounting is clear in the photographs. The old method of mounting was with brown tape all around the edges. It has been left on rather than trying to remove it. The paper is thin and though not fragile it is not robust either. A professional paper restorer could improve the tone, but in my experience the paper loses some strength by being treated. The colors are still bright and the darkened tone is not distracting.
Now matted in acid free mat board and T mounted on acid free foam core.