View of a town on a promontory, after Dürer; a church rising above rooftops at the summit, water surrounding at r Pen and brown ink, with brown wash and watercolour, heightened with white


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1860,0616.87

Bibliographic reference
Royalton-Kisch 2010 136 (anonymous Rembrandt School)
Hind 1915-31 Add.180

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
After Albrecht Dürer (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
Circle/School of Rembrandt (anonymous) (biographical details | all objects)
1655-1750 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Landscape with a town on a promontory; a church rising above rooftops at the summit, water surrounding at right; after Albrecht Dürer. c.1655-1750
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, watercolour and bodycolour; framing lines in pen and brown ink
Verso: laid down on eighteenth or nineteenth-century laid paper
No watermark visible

Inscription Content: Inscribed on verso of backing, top left, in graphite: '65 [in a circle]'; lower right, in pen and dark brown ink in an eighteenth-century hand: 'Rembrandt van Ryn'; lower left, in pen and brown ink, by William Esdaile: '35 WE Rembrandt'.

Height: 128 millimetres
Width: 296 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, distance apart uncertain)

Some surface dirt and foxing, with a few small losses in the upper part of the architecture; old creases, lower left; an oily brown stain covers much of the sheet (except the top left); some tears in upper part of architecture held together by backing.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous Rembrandt School, cat. no.136.
The drawing seems generically Rembrandtesque only in its penwork, which could possibly date from his lifetime although a much later date cannot be ruled out. The coloured washes enhance the likelihood that the drawing is a significantly later imitation of Rembrandt, the pale palette employed suggesting the late seventeenth or earlier eighteenth century. Yet the overall impression is reminiscent of the Romantic period (eg. drawings by Victor Hugo).
The dependence of the composition on the background of Dürer's engraving of 'St Anthony the Hermit' (Bartsch 58) of 1519, which is based on architectural elements from Nuremberg and Trent, was first recognised in 1931, the drawing having been placed for some years with those by G.B. Castiglione. In the nineteenth century the drawing attracted an exceptional price as a work of Rembrandt at the Lawrence-Woodburn sale and was described as authentic by both Vosmaer and Dutuit (see Literature below).

Vosmaer, 1877, p.612 (Rembrandt); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.86 (Rembrandt); London, 1931, p.140 (School of Rembrandt; based on Dürer).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased through Christie's (Woodburn's sale, 7.vi.1860/773 as 'Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - View of a town on a promontory - in colours) (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased through A E Evans & Sons (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from Samuel Woodburn (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Thomas Lawrence (L.2445) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection William Esdaile (L.2617) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Thomas Dimsdale (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Thomas Dimsdale (according to Esdaile sale catalogue); Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); William Esdaile (L.2617; see Rembrandt cat. no.15; 1895,0915.1264); Samuel Woodburn; his ‘Lawrence’ sale, Christie’s, 4th day, 7 June, 1860, lot 773.

Exhibition History
London, Lawrence Gallery, 1835, no.69 (Rembrandt);
London, 1956, p.28, no.1 (anonymous);
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue, as follower or imitator of Rembrandt).

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