A blind man walking with a stick; wearing a long cloak and small cap, moving towards the viewer. c.1650-60 Pen and brown ink and brown wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.69

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 120
Sumowski 1979 continuing 584xx
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Maes.8

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Attributed to Nicolaes Maes (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (school of) (biographical details | all objects)
1655-1657 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A man walking with a stick; wearing a long cloak and small cap, moving towards the viewer. c.1655-57

Pen and brown ink with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

Verso: blank; see Inscriptions.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, in graphite, upper left: ‘38 [in a circle]’.

Height: 177 millimetres
Width: 115 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 25mm apart)

Generally good; light foxing; top left corner repaired; skinned down left side and minor nicks to edge.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, attributed to Nicolaes Maes, cat. no.8:

In style, the most satisfactory comparison among the several so far offered (see Literature below) is with a drawing by Nicolaes Maes in Rotterdam of a 'Youth in a long Robe, standing', datable c.1655-7 (Sumowski 1894x; Rotterdam, 1988, no.117). The Rotterdam study is somewhat unusual for Maes in its scale and in the consequent breadth of its penwork, but has on the verso a characteristic sketch of an 'Eavesdropping Woman with a Child in a Doorway' (Sumowski 1866x). However, in the present work, the somewhat flat application of the wash seems unlike Maes, who generally handles the brush with greater breadth in painterly strokes.
A drawing in Darmstadt attributed to Barent Fabritius also shows a similar figure (Sumowski 820).[1] In it the wash is comparable to the present sheet but the penwork, conversely, is reminiscent of Maes.[2] These analogies are however not entirely persuasive and the drawing is therefore only tentatively placed under Maes' name here.[3]

[1] As noted by Pont, 1958, p.87, n.1.
[2] The model may be the one used by Maes for the angel in his early painting in a private collection of the 'Sacrifice of Isaac' (Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, no.1316, repr.). For the penwork, compare for example the 'Carrot-Peeler' formerly on the Zürich art market, Sumowski 1771.
[3] I am grateful to William W. Robinson for discussing this drawing with me during its exhibition (15 April 1992).

Bürger, 1858, p.400 (by Rembrandt); Kleinmann, II, 55; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.III (Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.120, repr. pl.XV (school; compares drawing of a 'Seated Prisoner' by Eeckhout in the Albertina, Vienna, Schönbrunner and Meder, 1893-1908, no.636; Sumowski 2814 [forthcoming, as anon.]); Valentiner, 1924, p.52, repr. p.54, fig.59 (certainly by Maes, compares drawing in Rotterdam, Sumowski 1894x); Stechow, 1925, p.147 (not Maes, refuting Valentiner, 1924); Van Dyke, 1927, p.114, repr. pl.XXX, fig.120 (by Maes); Pont, 1958, p.87, n.1 compares clothes worn by model in so called 'Self-Portrait' by Barent Fabritius in Darmstadt, Sumowski 820); Slive, 1965, II, under no.354 (school of Rembrandt; compares 'Boy in a long Gown', Bayonne, Sumowski 583xx); Frerichs, 1970, pp.39-40, repr. fig.3 (Maes or school of Rembrandt; reminiscent of Renesse); Sumowski, 1979 etc., III, 1980, no.584xx, repr. (attributed to Abraham van Dyck, comparing 'Boy in a long Gown' at Bayonne, Sumowski 583xx).

disabled (all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight (biographical details | all objects)

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A79 (as Rembrandt);
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue, as School of Rembrandt).

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