Head and shoulders of an old, bearded man wearing a cap, turned to r Pen and brown ink and grey wash, with white chalk, and touched with red chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1946,0713.170

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 2168x
Hind 1915-31 Add.5
Phillipps-Fenwick 1935 p.193(1)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Renesse.3

Dutch Roy XVIIc

Back to search results

Back to catalogue

Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Constantyn Daniël van Renesse (biographical details | all objects)
1650 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Head of an old man; bearded and wearing a cap, turned to right. c.1650
Pen and dark brown ink with grey and brown wash, touched with red chalk, with scraping out, on pale buff paper; ruled framing-lines in pen and black ink.
Verso: blank (see Inscriptions).
No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed in pen and brown ink, top left (17th or 18th century): ‘J Renesse 1628’; and verso, in graphite, top left: ‘V-B’; in pen and brown ink, lower left: ‘J Renesse f 1628 / h 6¾ / b 4¾ De./ 90’; in graphite, lower centre: ‘109b [?]’ and lower right: ‘23 [in a circle]’.

Height: 173 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 23mm apart)
Width: 124 millimetres


Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Constantijn Daniël van Renesse, cat. no.3:

The old attribution to Van Renesse, despite the accompanying date only two years after his birth, is entirely plausible. The scratchy penlines and pictorial finish of the drawing are characteristic of his style around the time of his presence in Rembrandt's workshop.
The drawing may be a portrait, perhaps of a fellow artist or a scholar with looks that might also serve for a prophet. A comparable study of a 'Bearded old Man in a Cap' has been attributed to Van Renesse on the strength of its analogies with the present sheet.[1] It is interesting that Van Renesse chose to make studies of old men at this period of his career, as Rembrandt had done at the same age during his early years in Leiden.
The same or a similar model appears in an anonymous Rembrandt school painting of the 1650s.[2]

[1] Sumowski 2168ax (formerly with C.G. Boerner of Düsseldorf and at Sotheby Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 25 March, 1983, lot 112, and Christie's, Amsterdam, 25 Nov. 1991, lot 74).
[2] As noted by Sumowski, 1979 etc. (see Lit. below). The painting is repr. Valentiner, 1921, p.77.

Popham, 1935, p.193, no.1 (the inscribed date wrong); Sumowski, 1979 etc., IX, 1985, p.4868, no.2168x (reconstructs pre-Woodburn provenance; relates model to anonymous school painting formerly in Philips collection, Eindhoven).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Donated by Count Antoine Seilern (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Samuel Woodburn (Christie's, 14.vi.1860/1535 as 'Two landscapes in the school of Rembrandt; a man's head by Renesse;) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Thomas Phillipps (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Henry George Bohn (?) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Pieter Cornelis, Baron van Leyden (?) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Possibly Thomas van Duysel sale, Amsterdam, Van der Schley, J. de Bosch, Ploos van Amstel,de Winter and B. de Bosch, 11 October, 1784 (not identifiable in the sale catalogue although some lots include drawings by Renesse that are not individually described); possibly D. Baron van Leyden sale, Amsterdam, Van der Schley and Spaan, 13 May, 1811, portf. W. no.33 ('Een Oud Mans-hoofd, door J. Renesse', as watercolour – 'gekleurd'); D. Versteegh; his sale, Amsterdam, 3 November, 1823, portf.3E, no.32 ('un viellard à longue barbe'), bt Gruiter with no. 33 ('une bergère, à la pierre noire, par G. Flinck'), f.1;* Samuel Woodburn; his sale, Christie's, 10th day, 14 June, 1860, lot 1534 (one of four drawings in the lot)** bt Boone, £2-15-0, for Sir Thomas Phillipps; by descent to Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick; presented anonymously, 1946. * Sumowski, 1979, etc., rediscovered the earlier provenance. ** The other drawings were Furnerius cat. no.8 (1946,0713.144), Philips Koninck cat. no.1 (1946,0713.158) and Willem Drost cat. no.11 (1946,0713.169).

Exhibition History
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, not in catalogue

Noticed a mistake? Have some extra information about this object? Please contact us

To bookmark this page select "Bookmark this page" or "Add to favourites" from the web browser menu.