drawing

A cottage with other buildings and an upturned boat near a canal; a landing stage with a boat turned up on dry land for repair, a small gabled cottage with low sheds near the water to l. c.1650 Black chalk, heightened with white, with later grey wash

AN222097001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: FrontFull: Front

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.104

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 126
Benesch 1973 1281a
Royalton-Kisch 2010 65 (Rembrandt)

Location:
Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

Materials
paper (all objects)
Techniques
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
Date
1650 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)


Description
A cottage with other buildings and an upturned boat near a canal; a landing stage with a boat turned up on dry land for repair, a small gabled cottage with low sheds near the water to left. c.1650

Black chalk, heightened with white, with later grey wash; framing lines in pen and brown ink.

Verso: laid down on backing paper.*
* The observation was recorded c.1960 that there was no sign on the verso of the ghosted ‘tree’ shape seen on the recto (perhaps smoke emanating from the chimney on the left?).

No watermark.

Inscriptions
Inscription Content: No inscriptions.


Dimensions
Height: 105 millimetres (chain lines vertical, distance apart unclear)
Width: 183 millimetres


Condition
Generally good; some dirt near the corners; minor tears and damage to the lower left corner; the grey wash is a later addition.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.65:
The sketch lay among the Museum's Rembrandt school drawings until the early 1960s, when it was first convincingly attributed to the master himself.[1]
Rembrandt's landscape drawings in black chalk are difficult to date, there being no precisely datable example in this category. A sketch in Vienna of the 'Town Hall of Amsterdam' (Benesch 1275) was drawn after a start had been made on its demolition in December 1646, but the works were still in progress when the building burnt down in 1652 (an event recorded in Rembrandt's pen and ink sketch in the Rembrandthuis, Benesch 1278). The style of the Vienna drawing is comparable to the present sheet and both have been associated with a supposed sketchbook of these years that contained the 'Bulwark of the Fortifications of Amsterdam' in Vienna (Benesch 1281), the 'View over the Amstel' in Berlin (Benesch 1279) and 'View over the IJ' also in Vienna (Benesch 1280).[2]
These four drawings, however, were all made on a different kind of paper, albeit of comparable dimensions.[3] The thin sheet employed here conforms to the type used for another group of studies made from around 1647 onwards, including the 'Four standing Men in tall Hats' in the Rijksmuseum (HdG.1301 and Amsterdam, 1985, no.28, not in Benesch), the 'Bearded Man in a long Coat' in Berlin (Benesch 666) and the 'Beggar Family' in the Amsterdam Historisch Museum (Benesch 705).[4] The 'Beggar Family' is inseparable in style from a second drawing in the Amsterdam Historisch Museum of the same subject but on a more conventional kind of paper (Benesch 749), which has on the verso a preparatory sketch for the etched 'Portrait of Jan Six' of 1647 (Bartsch 285, Hind 228).
Comparisons between these drawings and the present work are possible in spite of the different subject matter: the chalk is handled lightly in a geometrical, abbreviated shorthand, with precise outlines and small pockets of parallel hatching. Nevertheless an exact date is impossible to propose on account of the stylistic proximity of a third drawing in the Amsterdam Historisch Museum, the 'Four Doctors in Discussion' (Benesch 714) which is related to the etching of 1652 of 'Christ among the Doctors: a Sketch' (Bartsch 65, Hind 257).[5] The date of around 1650 suggested here is therefore a compromise between the possibilities argued by the datable drawings. The use of a particular type of paper need not necessarily have been confined to a single year and, as Rembrandt's etchings reveal, his interest in landscape as well as in 'beggar' subjects lasted throughout the period around 1648-52.
That the grey wash is by a later hand has been agreed by all recent writers. Another black chalk drawing of this period, the 'Street Musician' in a private collection (Benesch 745), has also been retouched in grey wash by a later hand in a similar fashion.[6] The delicate washes of white, on the other hand, seem characteristic of Rembrandt himself.
The site depicted in the British Museum's drawing has not been identified.

NOTES:
[1] By Christopher White (see Lit. below). Bürger, 1858, p.403, had also believed the drawing to be by Rembrandt but it was omitted from the British Museum's exhibition of 1899, which included all the drawings then accepted by Colvin.
[2] See the opinions recorded in Lit. below.
[3] The weight and texture is heavier in all of them and the chain lines run horizontally, except in Benesch 1280 (Vienna).
[4] For an extended version of the group, see Amsterdam, 1985, p.64.
[5] The connection with the etching was made by Broos in Amsterdam, 1981, no.15.
[6] The analogy first made by White, 1963 (see Lit. below).

LITERATURE :
Bürger, 1858, p.403 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.126, repr. pl.XVII (doubtful as Rembrandt, comparing Roghman and Cornelis Saftleven); White, 1963, pp.38-9, repr. pl.33 (compares 'Bulwark of the Fortifications of Amsterdam', Vienna, Benesch 1281; part of sketchbook to which 'View over Amstel', Benesch 1279, Berlin, and 'View over het IJ', Benesch 1280, Vienna, also belonged; wash and heightening possibly by a later hand, as in 'Street Musicians', priv. coll., The Hague, Benesch 745; same size as the two Vienna drawings); Benesch, 1964, p.134, repr. fig.32, reprinted 1970, p.261, repr. fig.237 (c.1652; wash added later; same sketchbook as Benesch 1279-81, as White, 1963); Benesch, 1973, no.1281A, repr. fig.1586 (c.1652; as Benesch 1964); Exh. Washington, 1990, p.90, n.1, and p.214, under no.61 (c.1645-9; quotes Benesch, 1973, for original sketchbook; compares other chalk studies of farmhouses: 'Cottage', Benesch 811, and 'Farm Buildings with Hay-Barn', Benesch 1276, both Berlin); Giltaij, 1995, p.101 (not Rembrandt).

Literature after Royalton-Kisch 2010: Holm Bevers, review of Martin Royalton-Kisch catalogue, in The Burlington Magazine (2013), p.103 (dated around 1647/8 ).


Acquisition date
1824

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight (as 'Rembrandt?') (biographical details | all objects)


Exhibition History
London, 1992, 'Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle', no.74, repr. (c.1650).


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