- Museum number
Head of a girl; bust length, nearly full face, hair parted on one side and gathered into a roll at the back, large lace-edged ruff
Black chalk with brown wash and red chalk, heightened with white
- Production date
- 1636-1638 (c.)
Height: 240 millimetres
Width: 203 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This portrait drawing, delicately executed in red, black and white chalk, is likely not the work of Rubens himself. Instead it likely numbers among some five versions of the this composition, and probably derives after a lost portrait drawing by Rubens. The other versions are located in the Louvre, Fogg, Albertina and a private collection. The present drawing is considered to be the best of all the extant versions. Logan 1977 associated the lively handling with that of Jan Cossiers.
Lit: J. Rowlands, ‘Rubens: Drawings and Sketches’, exhibition catalogue, British Museum,1977, no. 159: J. Held, 'Rubens: Selected Drawings', London, 1959, p.13; A.-M. Logan, ‘Rubens Exhibitions 1977’, Master Drawings, xv, no.4, p.412; J. Held, 'Selected Drawings', New York, 1986, p.14, fig.3; P. Volant, in 'Creative Copies: Interpretative Drawings from Michelangelo to Picasso' (ed. E. Haverkamp-Begemann), exhib.cat. Drawing Center, New York, 1988, under cat.no.40.
Entry from J. Rowlands, ‘Rubens: Drawings and Sketches’, exhibition catalogue, British Museum,1977, no. 159:
The present drawing is probably the closest in quality to a lost portrait drawing, conceivably by Rubens himself, rather than an original drawing by an immediate follower. It is certainly the best of the five versions known to us. The other four are in the Edmond de Rothschild collection in the Louvre, Paris; The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Albertina, Vienna; the last was formerly in the Beets collection in Amsterdam. Both Popham and Burchard accepted the present drawing as an original by Rubens. The Rothschild version is evidently, as Burchard has suggested, a copy made before the present drawing was cut at the bottom. The Fogg drawing is also a copy, although it too has been claimed as an original. Parker and Mathey have attributed the ex-Beets collection drawing to Watteau. The Albertina version is, in fact, a counterproof of this. None of the above versions is good enough, in our view, to be by Rubens himself.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.159
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This drawing along with fourteen others by Rubens and his assistants, originally purchased by the National Gallery from Sir Robert Peel in 1871, was deposited on loan to the Department of Prints and Drawings by the National Gallery in 1935 and formally transferred in 1994.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: NG.853.j