Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Portrait of an unknown man; head and shoulders to front, looking down, wearing a chaperon Silverpoint on cream-prepared paper

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1430-1440 (c.)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 214 millimetres
    • Width: 143 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Popham described this silverpoint drawing as School of Jan van Eyck. See JCR Add.28 (manuscript addition).

    Literature: A.E. Popham, 'Drawings of the Early Flemish School', London, 1926,; M. Friedländer, 'Altniederländische Malerei I: Die van Eyck - Petrus Christus', Leiden, 1934, p.125 (as an early work); M. Sonkes, 'Dessins du XVe siècle. Groupe van der Weyden', 1969, under no.E22; Fritz Koreny, 'Early Netherlandish Drawings from Jan van Eyck to Hieronymus Bosch', Rubenshuis Antwerp, 2002, under, p.52 (as not by the same hand as the Portrait of Jacoba of Bavaria, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt); John Oliver Hand in 'Drawing in Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns', edited by Stacey Sell and Hugo Chapman, Princeton and Oxford, 2015, p. 29, pl. 6 (as circle of Van Eyck); Joanna Russell, Judith Rayner and Jenny Bescoby, ' Northern European Metalpoint Drawings: technical examination and analysis', London, 2016, p. 62.

    The 1996 Malcolm Exhibition label text: The drawing was purchased at the Emile Galichon sale (Paris, 10-14 May 1875) by Malcolm's close friend William Mitchell. It was described in the sale catalogue as an original work by Jan van Eyck and said to represent Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Malcolm subsequently acquired it at Mitchell's sale in Frankfurt (7 May 1890) for the extraordinary sum of £725, almost two hundred pounds more than he spent on any other drawing. Although counted by these collectors among the jewels of their collections, the taste for works by the great Flemish 'Primitives' being at its height in the late nineteenth century, the drawing is now placed among the anonymous works of van Eyck's school. Compared with the subtlety of van Eyck's authentic drawings, the draughtsmanship seems crude. A drawn 'Portrait of Jacqueline of Bavaria' in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, perhaps made in 1432 (the date inscribed on a related painting in Vienna), appears to be by the same hand.


  • Bibliography

    • Popham (D & F) 1932 1 bibliographic details
    • Sell et al 2015 4 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Netherlandish Roy XVc/Early XVIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1973, BM, Netherlandish prints and drawings (no cat.) 1974 July-Dec, BM, Portrait Drawings, no.1 1996, BM, Malcolm Collection, (no cat.) 2015 May-Jul, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold'
    2015 10 Sep-6 Dec, London, British Museum, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Portrait of an unknown man; head and shoulders to front, looking down, wearing a chaperon Metalpoint, on prepared paper


Portrait of an unknown man; head and shoulders to front, looking down, wearing a chaperon Metalpoint, on prepared paper

Image description



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Object reference number: PDO11518

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