drawing

Landscape with a farm, with two hay-barns; and a house with two chimneys amid trees beyond at r Pen and brown ink, and watercolour, touched with white

AN222301001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1282

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 123 (as a doubtful attribution to Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 66 (Rembrandt)
JCR ADD.17

Location:
Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

Materials
paper (all objects)
Techniques
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
Date
1650 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)


Description
Landscape with a farm, with two hay-barns; and a house with two chimneys amid trees beyond at right. c.1650
Pen and brown ink with grey and coloured washes in green, blue and brown, touched with white (partly discoloured to pink).
Verso: see Inscriptions.
No watermark.

Inscriptions
Inscription Content: Goll’s number on verso: 'N 734' and in graphite, top, 'Add 17'; top right 'X/X'.


Dimensions
Height: 125 millimetres
Width: 210 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 28/30mm apart)


Condition
Good; minor discolouration to whites and at sides; slightly rubbed in lower corners.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.66:
The drawing was first doubted as a Rembrandt on its acquisition in 1895, and it is true that no other pictorially complete watercolour by him is known. Yet the few other writers to have passed judgement have believed the work in pen and ink, at least, to be characteristic of him.[1]
The arguments for restoring the work to Rembrandt have been set out in detail elsewhere.[2] The main points are that:
(1) the composition and pen style are typical of Rembrandt himself in around 1650;
(2) the watercolour washes do not merely follow the pen and ink outlines but also add elements to the composition such as, for example, the screen of trees in the left distance; they also enhance the comprehension of the lie of the land elsewhere in the drawing;
(3) that such effects could only be achieved by the artist responsible for the work in pen and ink; later additions to drawings by other hands invariably betray marked inconsistencies that are not present here;
(4) the palette is typical for the period and the same as that used by Rembrandt's pupils and followers, several of whom practised watercolour (for example, Flinck, Eeckhout, Doomer and Koninck); additions in watercolour made to seventeenth-century drawings generally date from the eighteenth century, and have a distinctly rococo palette.
The watercolour - but not the pen work - is comparable to a school drawing of a farmstead in a Dutch private collection, formerly in the E. Wauters and de Robiano collections (sold Amsterdam, Muller, 15-16 June, 1926, no.390, repr.).[3]
The only possible counter-arguments to an attribution to Rembrandt depend either on the uniqueness of such a drawing in his oeuvre or on subjective, negative judgments of its quality, which we believe to be unwarranted: the image successfully evokes the atmosphere of a day when the sun reappears through a still grey sky to heat the damp earth. Nonetheless the drawing's uniqueness will continue to stir doubts in the minds of some scholars.
The location has not been identified but the view of a low-lying farm on a small plot of elevated land (a 'terp')[4] is consistent with the Amsterdam area where most of Rembrandt's landscapes were made.

NOTES:
[1] The first doubts were expressed by Sidney Colvin in the 1895 British Museum exhibition catalogue. He omitted the drawing from the 1899 exhibition of Rembrandt's drawings in the collection. Hind (London, 1915, no.123) attempted to reinstate the sheet, but it had already been passed over by Hofstede de Groot (1906) and was never mentioned by Benesch.
[2] By the present writer in 1991 (see Lit. below).
[3] The analogies first noted by Schatborn, 1994 (see Lit. below).
[4] My thanks to Boudewijn Bakker.

LITERATURE :
Vosmaer, 1877, p.610 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.123, repr. pl.XVI (Rembrandt? colour unusual but penwork characteristic); Sumowski, 1964[I], p.244 (by Rembrandt, c.1650, but colour by a later hand; compares 'Farmhouse with Man in a Rowing Boat' at Chatsworth, Benesch 1232); Royalton-Kisch, 1991, pp.10-19, repr. in colour, pl.IV (argues for the retention of the drawing as entirely by Rembrandt, as summarised above); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.466 (inclined to accept as Rembrandt; the pen and ink acceptable without much difficulty); Sumowski, 1979 etc., X, 1992, no.2316xx (by Ruijscher, an early work; compares 'View of Naarden' in Rotterdam, Sumowski 2299xx); White, 1992, p.268 (attribution uncertain); Schatborn, 1994, p.23 (not Rembrandt - may belong to sub-group that includes ex-Wauters/de Robiano sheet); Giltaij, 1995, p.151 (not Rembrandt); Exh. Kassel-Leiden, 2006-7, p.199, n.17 and p.202, n.100 (first as "not Rembrandt"; then as "Ruijscher"; then as "Rembrandt?" [misquoting Royalton-Kisch, 1991 repeatedly]).

Literature after Royalton-Kisch 2010: Holm Bevers, review of Martin Royalton-Kisch catalogue, in The Burlington Magazine (2013), p.103 (as School of Rembrandt).


Acquisition date
1895

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Hendrik Six van Hillegom (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Johann Goll van Franckenstein (L.2987) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jacob de Vos Jacobsz. (L.1450; Amsterdam, Roos et al., 22.v.1883/388 as 'Rembrandt - Paysage aux deux granges à foin - Coll) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
J. Goll van Franckenstein (L.2987, with no. 'N 734 [in brown ink]'); his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries, Brondgeest, Engelberts and Roos, 1 July etc., 1833, p.25, kunstboek F, no.5, bt Six van Hillegom, f.750; Jhr H. Six van Hillegom; his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries, Roos and Brondgeest, 15 December, 1851, lot 2, bt de Vos, f.390; Jacob de Vos Jbzn (L.1450); his sale, Amsterdam, van Dijck, Roos, Muller, Pappelendam, Schouten and van Gogh, 22-4 May, 1883, lot 388, bt Thibaudeau for f.710 ; A.W. Thibaudeau, from whom bt 16 June, 1883 for £71 by John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with the Malcolm collection, 1895 (According to annotated copy of Robinson, 1876, in the Department, in which the drawing was given the number 'Malcolm add.17'.).


Exhibition History
London, BM, 1895, no.386 (probably by Philips Koninck or possibly by Eeckhout);
BM, 1992, 'Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle', no.75, repr. in colour;
Kassel-Leiden, Gemäldegalerie/Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, 2006-7, 'Rembrandt's Landscapes'.


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