Portrait of Frans Deleboe Sylvius, after Lievens; HL turned to r, looking to front, wearing a cloak and skull cap, with long curly hair, standing by a cornice with a house in the distance Black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1854,0628.88

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 29
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Lievens.J.24
Sumowski 1979 continuing under no.1613

Dutch Imp XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Attributed to Jan Lievens (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Jan Lievens (after) (biographical details | all objects)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)
British (all objects)

Portrait of Andries de Graeff (1611-1678); formerly wrongly identified as the portrait of Frans Deleboe Sylvius; half-length turned to right, looking to front, wearing a cloak and skull cap, with long curly hair, standing by a cornice with a house in the distance. 1657

Black chalk; ruled framing-lines in black chalk.

Verso: laid down on an 18th century backing-sheet.

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: None

Height: 420 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 24mm apart)
Width: 313 millimetres

Good; a little rubbed, e.g. lower centre; brown stain top right corner.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, attributed to Jan Lievens, cat. no.24:
A version, with some differences in the expression and other details, of the original drawing by Lievens in the Teyler Museum, Haarlem.[1] A copy was formerly in the Kneppelhout and Brunner collections.[2]
The three versions have been identified in the past as portraits representing Frans de le Boë Sylvius, Gillis Woutersz. Valckenier and Constantijn Huygens.[3] The recent identification of the sitter as Andries de Graeff (1611-1678) is convincing, based mainly on his portrait by the sculptor Artus Quellinus now in the Rijksmuseum.[4]
There can be no doubt that the Haarlem drawing, with its livelier touch and characterisation, is Lievens' original. Signed and dated 1657, it presumably commemorates the sitter's first appointment as Mayor of Amsterdam in that year. Yet the quality of the present sheet is not markedly inferior. The finish is less lively, but the facial features are adjusted significantly, as if to impart a more 'official' or formal demeanour to the sitter. Given the differences, the possibility remains that the De Graeff commissioned Lievens to produce more than one version of the portrait, and that the British Museum drawing could be an autograph variant. If not by Lievens himself, then the draughtsman must have had an intimate acquaintance with Lievens's style as well as with the original drawing, and was probably a pupil or a collaborator.

[1] Inv. no. P 6. (1864: P 39*); Sumowski 1613; Haarlem, 1997, p.222, no.237, repr.
[2] Schneider, 1932, p.207, under no.Z.110, sold by J. Kneppelhout in Amsterdam, 9 March, 1920, lot 290, repr. (as a portrait of Gillis Woutersz. Valckenier, Mayor of Amsterdam); subsequently with C. Brunner, Paris.
[3] See note 2 and Literature below; the Haarlem drawing was described as of Huygens by Scholten, 1904, p.129.
[4] See Weber, 1985.

Waagen, IV, 1857, p.41 (by Lievens); London, 1893, no.7, repr. (by Lievens; of an unknown man); London, 1915, p.89, no.29 (copy after Haarlem drawing of Sylvius); Schneider 1932/73, no.Z.110 (copy after Haarlem version; another copy, formerly Kneppelhout collection, sold 1920, 1922 and 1923; Hind's identification in London, 1915, as Sylvius plausible); Exh. London, 1970, p.26, under no.26 (Haarlem version the original); Exh. Braunschweig, 1979, p.163, under no.71 (copy after Haarlem version; reaffirms identification as Sylvius referring to engraving by C. van Dalen of 1659; notes ex-Kneppelhout version was said to be of Valckenier); Sumowski, 1979 etc., VII, 1983, under no.1613 (as Schneider 1932); Weber, 1985, p.55, note 20 (identifies as of De Graeff); Haarlem, 1997, p.222, under no.237 (follows Weber, 1985; suggests British Museum or ex-Kneppelhout/Paris art market copy may have belonged to Ploos van Amstel, rather than the Haarlem original, which is traditionally said to have belonged to him).

This drawing was issued as a coloured facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Drawings by Old Masters in the British Museum', Part III, Published by the Trustees, in 1893 where it was number VII and described there as 'Jan Livens, Portrait of A Man Unknown.'

Associated names
Portrait of Frans Deleboe Sylvius (biographical details | all objects)
Portrait of Andries de Graeff (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Walter Benjamin Tiffin (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Samuel Woodburn (sale Christie's, 16-27.vi.1854) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
1854,0628.81 to 117 were purchased from Tiffin and the register records that they were all drawings that he had bought on his own account at the Woodburn sale. The Bill Book gives prices and agrees that all of them came from the Woodburn sale. Neither source gives the lot numbers. These have been added to the records when they are obvious.

Exhibition History
British Museum, 1895, no.402 (as Lievens, of Sylvius).

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