Interior of a church, with an artist sketching; scene in the ambulatory, an artist seated at the foot of a pillar, a lady and gentleman walking behind at r, coats of arms hanging on three pillars Pen and brown ink, with watercolour and bodycolour


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1912,1214.7

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 6 (as Saenredam)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Borssom.17

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Anthonie van Borssom (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (biographical details | all objects)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Interior of a church with an artist sketching; scene in the ambulatory, an artist seated at the foot of a pillar, a lady and gentleman walking behind at right, coats of arms hanging on three pillars.
Pen and black ink with grey wash and some watercolour and bodycolour; framing-line in pen and black ink
Verso: laid down
Watermark: according to London, 1931, the letters 'PR'.

Inscription Content: Inscribed on the base of the column, in brown ink: 'Pieter / Saenredam / Ao 1630'; lower centre, in pen and brown ink (partly erased): 'AVBorssom fe [...]'; verso: stated in London, 1931, to be numbered '3892'.

Height: 190 millimetres (chain lines vertical, distance apart uncertain)
Width: 152 millimetres

Generally good; whites have oxidised in the three nearest figures.

Curator's comments
See Hind for discussion, as attributed to P J Saenredam (Vol.IV, p.46).

Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Anthonie van Borssom, cat. no.17:

When catalogued in 1931, no comparable compositions by van Borssom were known, and the by then traditional attribution to Pieter Jansz Saenredam, already followed by Ploos van Amstel in 1774 (when under his direction the drawing was engraved in facsimile by Bernard Schreuder, see D,8.39) was retained, albeit reluctantly.
With the publication of other church interiors by van Borssom, the attribution given in the partly erased inscription on the present sheet seems reasonable, although the handling is somewhat drier than is customary in his drawings.[1] Cat. nos.17 and 18 (1912,1214.8) can be associated with four similar drawings, one of them now known only through a Ploos van Amstel facsimile print published by C. Josi.[2] Two of the extant drawings, now in Seattle and Göttingen, include elements from the St Pieterskerk in Leiden, as do van Borssom's four known oil paintings of similar scenes.[3] One of the oils (present whereabouts unknown) combines elements from the same church with others from the Hooglandse kerk, also in Leiden.[4] Another of the oils, now in the Gallery of William V in The Hague,[5] was formerly recorded as dated 1668, a probable indication of the approximate date of the drawings.

[1] For the paintings, see Vermet, 1982, and Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, no.210, repr. p.455.
[2] Repr. Vermet, 1982, p.413, fig.10. The drawing was sold in Amsterdam, Sotheby's, 3 April, 1978, lot 93 as by Hendrick van Vliet. The three other known drawings are in Göttingen (Kunstsammlung der Georg August-Universität, inv. no.H9 [as van Borssom]; Sumowski, 1979 etc., II, no.359x, repr.; Vermet, 1982, fig.5); Seattle (inv. no.D30/Sa 15.1, from the Mayor collection; Vermet, 1982, fig.6); Cambridge (Fitzwilliam Museum, inv. no.PD3133 [as Saenredam] from the Warwick collection; Vermet, 1982, fig.7).
[3] Vermet, 1982, figs.1-4.
[4] Repr. Vermet, 1982, fig.4.

Josi, 1821, with facsimile (by Saenredam); London, 1931, p.46, no.6 (as attributed to P.J. Saenredam, but possibly by van Borssom, following the inscription); Laurentius, Niemeijer and Ploos van Amstel, 1980, pp.264-5, under no.21 (concerning the facsimile engraving); Vermet, 1982, pp.411-12, repr. fig.8 (van Borssom; odd architecture).

interior (scope note | all objects)
church (scope note | all objects)
artistic life (scope note | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Donated by Sir Otto Beit (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Johann Goll van Franckenstein (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Cornelis Ploos van Amstel (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Postle Heseltine (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection William Esdaile (1833) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Verso inscribed with an old collection no: "3892". Cornelis Ploos van Amstel; his sale, Amsterdam, van der Schley, et al., 3 March, etc., 1810, 'kunstboek' E, no.9, sold for f.65 with no.8 [here cat. no.18 (1912,1214.8)] and the related print; Goll van Franckenstein; his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries, Brondgeest, et al., 1 July, etc., 1833, 'kunstboek' F, no.20 (with cat. no.18) [the pair now in BM]; William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, Christie's 18 June, etc., 1840, lot 589 (as J.[sic] Saenredam), bt White, ,3-15s; J.P. Heseltine (according to British Museum register); presented to the British Museum by Otto Beit, 1912.

Exhibition History
1984 Jul-Sep, Edinburgh, NG Scotland, 'Dutch Church Painting', no. 28

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