An artist painting the portrait of a young woman; who is seated in an armchair at l, a man with a wide-brimmed hat standing behind, watching the artist, another man wearing a hat seated behind drawing at a table Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, over black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1860,0616.128

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 132
Royalton-Kisch 2010 89 (anonymous after Rembrandt)

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 (biographical details | all objects)
After Rembrandt (anonymous) (biographical details | all objects)
1645-1650 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A studio with an artist painting a double-portrait; a young woman seated in an armchair at left, a man with a wide-brimmed hat standing behind, watching the artist, another man wearing a hat seated behind drawing at a table

Pen and brown ink with brown wash over graphite; ruled framing line in pen and brown ink.

Verso: laid down on backing card.[1] (Please see RK Note [1] under Comment)

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: None; the backing has preserved the ghost of a letterpress text in French (perhaps from another backing) which includes the date '25 Janvier 1786'.[2]

(Please see RK Note [2] under Comment).

Height: 188 millimetres
Width: 248 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 24mm apart)

Good; lower left corner made up; slightly worn at the other corners.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous after Rembrandt, cat. no.89.
A copy of a drawing in the Louvre (Sumowski 1167ax), of which a second copy is also in the Louvre[3] and and a third in Copenhagen.[4] Two other versions of the subject are in Munich.[5]
The traditional attribution of the Louvre drawing to Rembrandt has long been doubted,[6] and recently the name of Samuel van Hoogstraten has been proposed.[7] A version of the scene by the latter is recorded in the inventory of the collection of Valerius Röver and was subsequently owned by Goll van Franckenstein.[8] Yet the Röver drawing cannot be certainly identified.[9]
The Louvre drawing seems certainly to be the prime version, but its attribution remains doubtful. It betrays connections with Rembrandt's work of the 1640s,[10] and comparison may be made with the 'Star of the Kings', here cat. no.38 (1910,0212.189). In the shorthand employed for the faces and in their expression the two works have much in common, as also in the loose penwork in the figure of the painter. This is found again in the 'Allegory of Art Criticism' in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (Lehman Collection; Benesch A35a), as is the use of broadly applied hatching. Yet there are aspects of the Louvre drawing, especially in its right-hand section (the drawing is composed of two sheets, joined vertically at the centre), that seem uncharacteristic of Rembrandt himself.[11] In the 1640s, Rembrandt's style as a draughtsman in pen and ink is incompletely documented, but it seems improbable that he was wholly responsible for the Paris drawing. For this reason, the British Museum's sheet is here included as after Rembrandt, but this is with reservations about the authorship of the original.
The copies vary in minor details from the prime Paris version. The present drawing, like that in Copenhagen, does not include the figure in the background to the right, although part of his outline is transcribed. In most other respects it is the most accurate of the copies.

[1] In transmitted light there appears to be nothing on the verso.
[2] Conservation Department neg. no.0883/2.
[3] RF 4750, Paris, 1933, no.1321, repr. Sumowski, 1979, etc., V, p.2850, fig.75c.
[4] Tu 82c, no.9, repr. Sumowski, 1979, etc., V, p.2848, fig. 75a.
[5] Munich, 1973, nos.1162 (repr.) and 1163 (repr. by Sumowski, 1979, etc., V, p.2581, fig.75d). Sumowski also reproduces Munich no.1162 as his no.1132ax, which, he argues, is Hoogstraten's preparatory drawing for the Paris composition. The present writer remains uncertain about this attribution.
[6] For the critical history, see Sumowski, 1979, etc., no.1167ax and Exh. Paris, Cabinet des dessins, 1988-89, no.107.
[7] By Sumowski, loc. cit.
[8] The Röver inventory describes his drawing, portfolio 8, no.1, as 'Een Schilder (zijnde het Pourtrait van Hoog-/straeten) zittende te schilderen na een/ vrouwtje, waar bij nog twee beelden voor een Tafel zittende van Hoogstraten' ('A painter (being the portrait of van Hoogstraten) seated to paint a woman, with two further figures seated before a table by Hoogstraten'); the drawing, and a second version, were in the Goll van Franckenstein sale, Amsterdam, 1 July, 1833, portfolio K, no.16, or N, no.2.
[9] The present sheet has no Goll number on the present backing, but could conceivably be the one purchased by Woodburn (who certainly owned it) for f.135 at the Goll sale (see Smith, 1836, p.201, no.25). Lugt states (Paris, 1933, no.1181) that the Paris drawing also lacks a Goll number.
[10] As noted by Sumowski, loc. cit.
[11] As first recognised by Lugt, in Paris, 1933, no.1181, who thought only the left section by Rembrandt.

Blanc, II, 1861, p.455 (by Rembrandt); Vosmaer, 1877, p.605 (by Rembrandt; possibly of his studio); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.86 (by Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.132 (copy of Louvre sheet; notes two drawings in Munich); Paris, 1933, p.26, under no.1181 (the boy in right distance in Louvre version omitted here; further copies in Louvre and Copenhagen); van Gelder, 1948, pp.48-9, repr. (copy after Rembrandt by Hoogstraten; possibly Goll van Franckenstein collection sale, 1833, bt Woodburn f.135; the subject appears as by Hoogstraten in Röver inventory - perhaps the B.M. drawing; the figure on the left might be the young Barent Fabritius); Exh. Paris, 1970, p.70; Munich, 1973, p.169, under no.1162; Sumowski, 1979, etc., V, p.2592, repr. p.2849, fig.75b); Exh. Paris, Cabinet des dessins, 1988-89, p.106, under no.107.

artist studio (all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased through Walter Benjamin Tiffin (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased through Christie's (Woodburn's sale, 14.vi.1860/1509 as 'Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - A painter's studio, probably Rembrandt's;) (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from Samuel Woodburn (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
J.D. Lempereur? (possibly his mark, L.1740, lower right, but not clearly legible; his sale, Paris, 24 May etc., 1773, lot 328, included a drawing attributed to Rembrandt ‘où l'on voit une femme qui se fait peindre; [...] à la plume et lavé’, which sold to François for 24 livres 4); Samuel Woodburn; his sale, Christie's, 14 June, 1860, lot 1509.

Exhibition History
None recorded.

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