- Museum number
Portrait of Sir Anthony van Dyck, head and shoulders in profile to right, with head turned to front; left hand holding chain passing over his right shoulder, right hand pointing to large sunflower on r, after Van Dyck's self-portrait. 1644
- Production date
Height: 134 millimetres
Width: 114 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.53)
This print is dedicated by van der Borcht to John Evelyn, whom he knew as a client and collector. It is after a self-portrait by van Dyck painted c.1633 (the best version now belongs to the Duke of Westminster), and was etched in London shortly before Hollar's departure for Antwerp at the end of 1644. Evelyn knew van der Borcht at least as early as 1641: his diary for 28 June 1641 records that he sat 'to one Vanderborcht' for his portrait, which he gave to his sister before departing abroad.
Six extremely important letters from van der Borcht to Evelyn written between 1642 and 1650 have recently been published by R.Harding in Apollo, CXLIV 1996, pp.39-44. They make it clear that van der Borcht, apart from being Keeper of the Arundel collection, had a sideline as a dealer in paintings and prints, and numbered Evelyn and his brother among his clients. As his pay from Arundel dried up, these other sources of income became increasingly important.
Evelyn departed for France and thence Italy in November 1643. So he only saw the print after his return in 1647. Van der Borcht wrote to him in December 1648: 'I whas glad that you did accept of the demonstration of my affection by the Dedication of Sr Antony van Dycks Pictur unto you. I did sende some of the prints unto you in a Letter, but it seemeth that it hadde the misfortun not to meete wth. you.' In an earlier letter of April 1648 he wrote of Hollar that 'he is very much esteemd in these parts and especially in Antwerp where he is nouw dwelling. Many lovers of arts make collections of all his worckes.' Later, in May 1650, he replied to Evelyn who had evidently enquired the price and number of Hollar's new plates: 'Of Hollars prints they have no certaine number hee adding continually unto them but 7 or 8 pistols would go a great way, and if you please to have anye I will let you have them at an easye rate so as I sell them unto those that might gaine by them. I have a good number of his plates, hee hath latelye made a peece for me in honour of my olde master ...' (ie. Arundel, P.466).
These extracts throw a flood of light on Hollar's work in the Antwerp years. Van der Borcht clearly owned certain plates outright, while of others (evidently still owned by Hollar himself) he held a stock of impressions. For these he was acting as wholesaler as well as retailer, and it was wholesale prices that he was offering Evelyn. This shows that van der Borcht's importance for Hollar went far beyond the plates that he himself bought outright; he was also a key figure in the distribution of all Hollar's work, and doubtless his father in Frankfurt played a role in this. He must therefore have had a great influence on the subjects and nature of Hollar's work in the Antwerp years. During these eight years, Hollar published only one plate himself, a portrait of the future Charles II (P.1442).
See R. Godfrey, 'Wenceslaus Hollar: A Bohemian Artist in England', New Haven and London, 1994, no. 47.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 Feb-May, London, Tate Britain, Van Dyck and Britain
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number