The Judgement of Solomon; interior with Solomon seated on a throne, flanked by male standing figures, on either side a row of seated men and spectators leaning over a balcony, in the foreground two women, one kneeling with the dead child before her, the o


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.116

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 142
Royalton-Kisch 2010 99 (anonymous Rembrandt School)

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Circle/School of Rembrandt (anonymous) (biographical details | all objects)
1635-1645 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The Judgement of Solomon; interior with Solomon seated on a throne, flanked by male standing figures, on either side a row of seated men and spectators leaning over a balcony, in the foreground two women, one kneeling with the dead child before her, the other standing and holding a baby

Pen and brown ink with brown wash over some light indications in graphite; ruled framing-line in pen and brown ink (down left side only).

Verso: see Inscriptions.

Watermark: countermark 'AD' (similar to Amsterdam 1985, p.240, cat.42, where dated early 1650s).

Inscription Content: Lower right, in graphite: '931'; verso, centre right, in graphite: '931/Jarvis' and on verso of mat in graphite: '15 [in a circle]'.

Height: 192 millimetres
Width: 321 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 23/27mm apart)

Good; inlaid in eighteenth-century mat.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous Rembrandt School, cat. no.99.
The subject is from the Old Testament (1 Kings, III, x-xxxviii): Solomon has to decide which of two women is the true mother when they both claim to have mothered the same child - and reject a dead one of the same age.
The drawing is one of four known versions of the composition, the others being in Dresden,[1] Rotterdam,[2] and formerly on the art market.[3] All differ from each other in some details and in the use of wash. None of these drawings appears to be an original work, and they are all presumably based on a lost drawing by Rembrandt or a close associate (Gerbrand van den Eeckhout being the most likely author).[4] The type of composition and the style (as reflected in the copies) suggest that the original dates from the second half of the 1630s,[5] and the present copy is probably from the same period, although a later date cannot be ruled out.
All but the Dresden version include in the foreground the reclining figure of the dead child.[6] Ferdinand Bol, in a drawing of the 'Continence of Scipio' made in the first half of the 1650s and now in the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna, recast the group of soldiers to the right of the present composition.[7]

[1] Lippmann, I, 96; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.175, repr.
[2] Rotterdam, 1988, no.142, repr.
[3] Lucerne, with Kékkö, cat. VII, 1976, repr. fig.3. With Kekko again in April, 1994, when kindly shown to the compiler. Drawn in pen and brown ink with later grey wash. 206 x 320 mm. Photograph in Museum files.
[4] Gerson, 1936, p.174, noted that both the London and Dresden versions have an underdrawing in graphite which is typical of early copies.
[5] Compare the drawing of this period attributed to Eeckhout, here cat. no.1, T,14.7.
[6] As pointed out by Valentiner, I, 1925, under no.175.
[7] As discovered by Sumowski (letter of 25th April 1994).

Bürger, 1858, p.399 (by Rembrandt); Vosmaer, 1877, p.586 (by Rembrandt); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.85 (by Rembrandt); Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 (prefers Dresden version; notes Hofstede de Groot's attribution of British Museum sheet to S. Koninck); Saxl, 1908[I], p.532 (perhaps by S. Koninck; compares 'Joseph and his Brothers', Munich, Benesch Ad.1045a); Hind, 1912, I, p.57 (not Rembrandt; copied from Dresden drawing); London, 1915, no.142, repr. pl.XIX (copy of Dresden version; compares 'Rebekah leaving her Parents', now Stuttgart, Benesch 147); Hofstede de Groot, 1927, p.276 (possibly by S. Koninck); Bredt, II, 1928/21, p.143 (as Hind, 1912); Valentiner, I, 1925, under no.175 (Dresden and London drawings both copies; see also n.6 above); Hind, 1932, p.28 (good copy after Rembrandt); Valentiner, II, 1934, p.XXII (S. Koninck?); Gerson, 1936, no.Z.LXV (not P.Koninck; see also n.4 above); Slive, 1965, I, under no.97 (weaker version of Dresden sheet, which also a copy); Munich, 1973, p.78, under no.547, and p.173, under no.1193 (quotes Saxl and Valentiner); Sumowski, 1979, etc., III, 1980, p.1750, under no.814xx (not by S. Koninck); Rotterdam, 1988, p.268, under no.142 (probably after Rembrandt; all three versions have been attributed to S. Koninck).

old testament (all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Solomon (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Nathaniel Hillier (no. 65 as Rembrandt in his manuscript catalogue of his collection and valued at £2-2-0) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Benjamin West (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Charles Jervas (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Charles Jarvis (see inscription, verso; not individually described in his sale, London, 24 March, 1740, but from verso inscription probably from lot 931: '4 Rembrandt and W. vandeVelde, Jun'); Benjamin West (L.419); his sale, Christie’s, 2nd day, 10 June, 1820, lot 53 (as Rembrandt), bt Knight, 3-3-0; bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight, 1824 (as by Rembrandt).

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A89 (as by Salomon Koninck).

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