A sketch of river scenery; a river in the foreground with low trees on the banks, a landing stage and a boat to r, a cottage and a full hay-barn. c.1655 Reed pen with brown ink and grey-brown wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.111

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 111
Benesch 1973 1337
Royalton-Kisch 2010 86 (attributed to 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
Attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

River scene with trees, a boat, a cottage and a hay-barn; c.1655

Reed pen and dark brown ink with brown wash.

Verso: laid down on backing paper.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed on verso of backing, in graphite, upper left: '18 [in a circle]'.

Height: 132 millimetres
Width: 244 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 25mm apart)

Badly rubbed and stained, most severely to the right; a loss made up at lower right corner; other holes lower centre.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Rembrandt, cat. no.86.
The suggested date of around 1655 can only be approximate (see cat. no.70; Gg,2.255). The style is strongly reminiscent of a drawing in Rotterdam that is in equally poor condition, the 'View of a Town with Towers' (Benesch 1336), which also includes a boat seen broadside on against the bank of a canal or river. The spare indications for the architecture, as well as the blank foregrounds and short vertical strokes along the bank are particularly similar.[1] The foliage resembles that in two other river views, one in the Frick Collection (Benesch 1325), the other also in Rotterdam (Benesch 1324).[2] Other drawings which are stylistically comparable somewhat undermine the attribution to Rembrandt (although no convincing alternative has been proposed), including the 'View of Diemen' (National Gallery of Art, Washington, Benesch 1360) and the divided drawing of a 'Road with Trees', Ditches and Houses now in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.[3]
The location has not been identified but the same stretch of river appears in a Rembrandt school drawing in Dresden, a preparatory sketch for an anonymous etching, the 'Full Hay-Barn', which shows the view in reverse (Bartsch 248, Hind 339).[4] These compositions show more of the hay-barn but less of the river to the left. The upturned cartwheels in the water on the left were used as racks for pots and pans when washing up.[5]

[1] Benesch 1337 grouped the drawings together. Although their measurements differ (the Rotterdam sheet is 92 x 178) the paper seems the same. The Rotterdam drawing is accepted only with reservations by Giltaij in Rotterdam, 1988, no.28.
[2] The New York and Rotterdam drawings are compared by Benesch, 1937/73, and Giltaij in Rotterdam, 1988, no.27. The New York drawing is tentatively identified as showing a 'Farmhouse on the Sloterweg' in Exh. Amsterdam-Paris, 1998-9, p.344.
[3] Benesch 1361-2, which the present writer first observed were once joined as one sheet (see Amsterdam, 1985, p.232, n.1).
[4] Repr. by Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, no.91. The drawing is noted by White and Boon, 1969, p.180, under no.B.248, but the composition has not previously been connected with the present sheet.
[5] Information from Boudewijn Bakker (in conversation, 2 August, 1989).

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Vosmaer, 1877, p.612; Michel, 1893, p.582, left column below; Seidlitz, 1894, p.12, (not Rembrandt; groups with cat. nos.82 and 84 and 'Windmills on west Side of Amsterdam', Copenhagen, Benesch 1335); Lippmann, I, no.113; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XLVI; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.949; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.111 (notes rejection by Seidlitz); Benesch, 1935, p.49 (c.1650-52, compares 'Clump of Trees', Louvre, Benesch 1338, 'Group of Houses', Budapest, Benesch 1264, and Benesch 1335 as Seidlitz, 1894); Wimmer, 1935, p.38 (towards 1650; compares cat. no.72); Amsterdam, 1942, p.41, under no.80 (compares 'Road with Trees, Ditches and Houses', Amsterdam, Benesch 1362); Wimmer, 1942, p.48; Benesch, 1947, p.43, under no.220 (compares Benesch 1335 as Benesch, 1935); Benesch, VI, 1957/73, no.1337, repr. fig.1571/1651 (c.1654-5; as Benesch, 1935 but also comparing Rotterdam drawing, Benesch 1336, on which see above); Slive, 1965, I, no.115 (c.1655); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, pp.135-6 (rejects Benesch's comparisons apart from that with Benesch 1336); Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (not Rembrandt; compares sheets in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Benesch 1361-2); Giltaij, 1995, p.101 (perhaps a forgery [!]).

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A70;
1938, no.111;
1956, p.12, no.5;
1992, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.86, repr.

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