Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his circle
- Martin Royalton-Kisch
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The cornerstone of the scholarly reputation of the Department of Prints and Drawings is the current series of permanent collection catalogues of the drawings. This started with A.E. Popham and P.M.R. Pouncey’s catalogue of fifteenth century Italian drawings in 1950 and has been steadily continued since, the most recent volume being Nicholas Turner’s catalogue of Roman Baroque Drawings of 1999.
The Catalogue of Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle is the first in this area since A.M. Hind’s now obsolete catalogue of 1915. In 1992 the Museum published Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle in the British Museum, an exhibition catalogue which included 108 of the drawings – including all the autograph Rembrandts – that is included in the new permanent catalogue.
The collection to be catalogued is perhaps the most significant of its kind in the world. There are now some 82 drawings by Rembrandt himself in the British Museum, including a rare early Self-portrait and such famous drawings as that of an Elephant and the celebrated study of Hendrickje Stoffels sleeping. Almost every period and aspect of Rembrandt’s draughtsmanship is represented by outstanding examples. All his pupils and artists who were directly influenced by him are represented strongly, with especially important holdings of works by Ferdinand Bol, Anthonie van Borssom (including an intact sketchbook), Lambert Doomer, Willem Drost, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Jan Lievens and Philips Koninck.
In the case of Rembrandt himself, most of his drawings are neither signed nor sketches made in preparation for his prints and paintings. This makes the material extremely difficult to judge, and in the catalogue we hope that we have clarified the dividing line between his own works and those by his closest emulators.
This project has been completed.
Rembrandt, A young woman sleeping (Hendrickje Stoffels), 1895,0915.1279