A sketch of farm buildings; a low, thatched farm building with an angle and a gabled end, a barn and trees behind, two figures beyond at l. c.1655 Reed pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, on light grey prepared paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.80

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 110
Benesch 1973 1316
Royalton-Kisch 2010 83 (attributed to Rembrandt)

Dutch Roy XVIIc

Back to search results

Back to catalogue

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)

A sketch of farm buildings; a low, thatched farm building with an angle and a gabled end, a barn and trees behind, two figures beyond at l. c.1655

Reed pen and brown ink with brown wash on paper washed grey; framing lines in pen and brown ink (of a different shade).

Verso: see Inscriptions.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed top right, in the same pen and brown ink as the framing lines: 'R…'*; verso, in graphite, upper left: '29 [in a circle]'.
*(RK Note [1] under Comment): The initial has been compared (in my view unpersuasively) with other inscribed drawings both by Hind (in London, 1915) and Benesch (1957) - see Lit. under Comment.

Height: 106 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 27mm apart)
Width: 214 millimetres

Generally good; some foxing, mostly near the sides, and a few small nicks and repairs along the lower edge (at 8, 27 and 38 mm from the left).

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Rembrandt, cat. no.83.
The style of Rembrandt's later landscape drawings varies according to the instruments he employed, his intentions and the speed of execution. Their attribution is often difficult to substantiate, there being no independently verifiable landscapes after around 1652.
The present drawing is acceptable as Rembrandt's own work, though not without reservations. The handling is broad and the sheet appears to have been drawn swiftly. Characteristic features for Rembrandt are the blank foreground and sky, the generally reticent use of line, the well-judged tonal values (with the deepest shadows below the trees and under the eaves, the wash scumbled elsewhere to suggest the irregular surfaces depicted) and the sense of distance to the horizon.
The touch is more liquid than in most of Rembrandt's own landscape drawings, but resembles that in several generally accepted drawings, including the late 'Road with Trees and a Bridge' in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 1368) and the 'View of a Town with a Tower' now in Rotterdam (Benesch 1336).[2] Closest of all is the 'Inn beside a Road', formerly in a private collection (Benesch 1315), which is also prepared with grey wash.[3] The breadth of execution suggests the period towards the mid-1650s as previous writers have recognised, although a precise dating is impossible for lack of evidence.
A somewhat slighter, smaller version of the same view is in the Princes Gate collection (Courtauld Institute of Art, Benesch 1317). It differs in several details including the hay-barn, which is almost empty,[4] and its attribution to Rembrandt is in the compiler's opinion uncertain. The location depicted in these drawings has not been certainly identified but was probably on the Schinkelweg, with the Sloterweg visible in the distance. In Rembrandt's day this area was outside the city walls towards the south west.[5]

[1] The initial has been compared (in my view unpersuasively) with other inscribed drawings both by Hind (in London, 1915) and Benesch (1957) - see Lit. below.
[2] Accepted only with hesitation in Rotterdam, 1988, no.28.
[3] John R.Gaines sale, Sotheby's, New York, 17 November, 1986, lot 20.
[4] As noticed by Seilern in London, 1961 (see Lit. below). It was first published and connected with the Museum's drawing by Hind, 1943.
[5] See Exh. Amsterdam-Paris, 1998-9, p.331.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Bürger, 1858, p.402 (perhaps for etching, 'Landscape with three gabled Cottages', Bartsch 217, Hind 246); Vosmaer, 1877, p.612; Michel, 1893, p.582; Seidlitz, 1894, p.125 (not Rembrandt; groups with cat. nos.84 and 86 and 'Windmills on the West Side of Amsterdam', Benesch 1335, Copenhagen); Lippmann, I, no.104b; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.963; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.110 (compares 'Cottages by a Stream', now Frick Coll., Benesch 1325; inscription compared to 'Beggar with Stick, facing right', Amsterdam, Benesch 30); Eisler, 1918, pp.72-3, 87 and 101, repr. fig.57 (c.1655; one of a group [unspecified] on grey paper); Benesch, 1935, p.49 (compares 'Inn beside a Road', Benesch 1315, on which see above); Wimmer, 1935, p.41 (c.1650; groups with various sheets); Amsterdam, 1942, p.40, under no.79 (rejects Wimmer's grouping); Wimmer, 1942, pp.41 and 48 (c.1652); Hind, 1943, p.128 (see n.4 above); Benesch, VI, 1957/73, no.1316, repr. fig.1548/1626 (c.1653; inscription compared to 'St Martin and Beggar', Besançon, Benesch 1051; same building seen in Seilern sheet, Benesch1317; for style compares as Benesch, 1935); London, 1961, p.42, under no.200, repr. fig.20 (see n.4 above; also compares 'Winter Landscape', Fogg Art Museum, Benesch 845); Slive, 1965, I, no.106, repr. (c.1653); Schatborn, 1994, p.23 (not Rembrandt); Giltaij, 1995, p.101 (not Rembrandt; compares P. Koninck 'Village with Church among Trees', Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, Sumowski 1497x, which has a similar inscription); Exh. Amsterdam-Paris, 1998-9, p.331, repr. fig.3 (topography; see further above).

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A45;
1938, no.110;
1992, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.82, repr. in colour.

Noticed a mistake? Have some extra information about this object? Please contact us

To bookmark this page select "Bookmark this page" or "Add to favourites" from the web browser menu.