Two men standing, both wearing wide-brimmed hats and long coats Pen and brown ink with black chalk and heightened with white, on brown oiled paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • VersoVerso

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1269

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 121
Royalton-Kisch 2010 122 (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)
1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Two men standing, in wide-brimmed hats and long cloaks

Pen and grey ink with grey wash; a vertical line in red ink near the left side suggests that the paper was taken from a book of accounts; there is an accidental line in graphite near the right side.

Verso: laid down on old card.

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: Inscribed on verso of backing card, in graphite, top: '15'; centre: '797' and lower left: '778 [erased; these last two numbers refer to Robinson 1869 and 1876]'.

Height: 107 millimetres (chain lines not visible)
Width: 81 millimetres

Slight general discolouration; several spots of black (perhaps oxidised lead white); the edges of the sheet bear traces of gold from the decoration of an old (18th century?) mat.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous Rembrandt School, cat. no.122.
The drawing has often been associated with the work of Nicolaes Maes (see Literature below). Yet the stylistic resemblance is no more than superficial with those drawings that may be attributed to him with confidence.
Many other drawings by the same, anonymous, hand are known, all of them figure-studies (the figures being rather squat), mostly on a small scale and showing their subjects full-length (see Sumowski nos.1974x-2001x).[1] One of these, a drawing in the Rijksmuseum of a 'Man with a Cap, standing' (Sumowski 1977x) has recently been ascribed, albeit tentatively, to Willem Drost.[2] Yet the analogies with the core of sketches attributed to Drost (q.v.) fail to convince in the case of the British Museum's drawing, which is more probably by another hand.
The comparisons with Drost and Maes suggest a date in the 1650s, but whether the artist was directly inspired by Rembrandt or indirectly through one of his pupils, it is impossible to say.[3]

[1] A few of these fall outside the group or are arguably by a different hand. Schatborn has recently reaffirmed the traditional attribution of no.1993x to Rembrandt (in Amsterdam, 1985, no.48).
[2] Schatborn, 1985, p.103.
[3] Meder, 1919, p.672, discusses a drawing in the Albertina, Vienna, that he reproduces p.671, fig.326 and which clearly belongs to the group here under discussion, describing it as a late 19th century Rembrandt forgery.

Robinson, 1869/76, no.778/797 (ex-Robinson collection); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.915 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.121, repr. pl.XV (compares 'The Trial' in Haarlem [inv.P*60; Haarlem, 1997, no.207], 'Two standing Jews' formerly in Dresden [ Sumowski 1991x], 'Man walking' in Budapest [Sumowski 1992x] and another sold Muller, Amsterdam, 27 May 1913, no.178, repr.); Valentiner, 1924, pp.52-3, repr. fig.62 (Maes, compares ex-Dalhousie 'Study Sheet', Sumowski 1987x); Stechow, 1925, p.146 (Maes); Berlin, 1930, p.244, under no.5786 (school; groups with inv. no.5786, given to Maes by Valentiner, 1924, p.52; also inv. no.8511 in Berlin, HdG 311 Dresden, HdG 1377 Budapest, and ex-Heseltine 1913 cat. no.178); Amsterdam, 1942, p.95, under no.5 (Maes; compares 'Standing Oriental', Sumowski 1983x in Rijksmuseum, and other related works in same collection); Slive, 1964, pp.293 and 296, n.20 (as Valentiner); Munich, 1973, p.107, under no.758 (Maes? compares study in Munich, cat. no.758, and others in same repository); Amsterdam, 1981, p.178, under no.51, repr. fig.a (attributed to Maes; compares drawing in Amsterdam Historisch Museum); Sumowski, 1979 etc., VIII, 1984, no.1984x, repr (Maes); Robinson, 1987, p.257, n.25 (not Maes); Rotterdam, 1988, under nos.122-3 (compares two related drawings of 'Standing men in Hats' in Rotterdam, including Sumoski 1978x); Robinson, 1996, p.98, n.7 (not Maes; relates to Drost).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
J.C. Robinson (according to Robinson, 1869/76; his mark, L.1433, erased); John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with his collection, 1895.

Exhibition History
No exhibitions recorded.

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