The Judgement of Solomon

Image credit: National Trust Images

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According to a biblical story, two mothers who had babies were disputing whose was the one who had not died. Solomon showed his wisdom by threatening to have his executioner divide the baby equally between them. The real mother immediately revealed herself by offering to give up her claim in favour of the false mother, in order to save her own baby's life.

The subject suggests it may originally have been commissioned for one of the courtrooms in the Doge's Palace in Venice by Andrea Loredan, where it was recorded as being seen, although unfinished, in 1648.

When the poet Byron encouraged William Bankes to buy it from the Marescalchi collection in Bologna in 1820 it was attributed to the artist Giorgione, a Venetian contemporary of Sebastiano del Piombo.

National Trust, Kingston Lacy

Wimborne Minster


The Judgement of Solomon




oil on canvas


H 175.5 x W 289.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by Ralph Bankes, 1981

Work type



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Normally on display at

National Trust, Kingston Lacy

Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 4EA England

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