A clump of trees in a fenced enclosure. c.1645 Black chalk


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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1890,0512.160

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 108
Benesch 1973 1255
Royalton-Kisch 2010 62 (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
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1645 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A clump of trees in a fenced enclosure; c.1645

Black chalk.

Verso: see Inscriptions (now laid down again).

Watermark: part of a crowned shield, possibly from a mark with the Arms of Burgundy and Austria.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, in blue chalk, centre: 'b'; in graphite: '1487 [in a circle] '.

Height: 95 millimetres
Width: 150 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 27mm apart)

Generally good but slightly soiled; a slight loss at lower left corner, top right corner shaved; a few nicks from the lower edge, 22, 41 and 50mm from left.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.62:
The drawing originally seems to have come from the same or a similar sketchbook as cat. no.63 (1890,0512.161, Benesch 1256), which shares the same provenance, together with the views of the 'St Anthoniessluis' in Berlin (Benesch 1257) and the 'Amstel River' in the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (Benesch 1258).[1] However, the two drawings in the British Museum have two different watermarks.
The style suggests a date towards 1645 on the basis of two main comparisons: with the study in Wroclaw of a 'Canal between Bushes' (Benesch 817), which seems to have formed the basis of Rembrandt's etching, the 'Boathouse', of 1645 (Bartsch 231, Hind 211);[2] and with the 'Bust of a Girl' (Benesch 700) in the Princes Gate Collection, Courtauld Institute, a study for the painting in Dulwich of a 'Girl at a Window' (Bredius 368), also dated 1645. The hair of the girl in the latter drawing, like the foliage in the Wroclaw and British Museum sheets, is expressed with unbroken loops and curls drawn with a sharply pointed black chalk that precisely resembles the style of the landscapes. The exacting detail, especially in the centre of the present drawing, together with the unbroken lines, also betray close analogies with Rembrandt's landscape etchings from the first half of the 1640s. After around 1645-8 his style attains a greater economy as he employs suggestive, more broken lines, replacing the more literal delineation of the earlier period exemplified by the present examples.[3]
The site of the two British Museum drawings, which were presumably made from life, has not been identified,[4] but the motif of a dense screen of trees, often with gatehouses or farm buildings nearby, was later developed by Rembrandt in numerous drawings and etchings (see for example, cat. no.67; 1984,1110.9, Benesch 1266).

[1] As suggested by Benesch, 1957 (see Lit. below).
[2] A comparison proposed in Exh. Washington, 1990 (see Lit. below). Dates for Benesch nos.1257-8 (mentioned above) in the early to mid-1640s were proposed by Rosenberg (c.1640, in Berlin, 1930, p.236) and Lugt (c.1645, in Paris, 1950, no.488) respectively.
[3] These differences are less clear in town views such as that of the 'Amsterdam Town Hall' in Vienna (Benesch 1275, see further under cat. no.65 (Oo,9.104, Benesch 1281A), on the basis of which Benesch (loc. cit.) proposed a date of c.1651. In 1935 (see Lit. below) he had opted for the early 1640s for cat. no.63 (1890,0512.161, Benesch 1256) and for the two other drawings he later believed had come from the same sketchbook, Benesch 1257-8 (on which see above).
[4] Exh. Washington, 1990, pp.211-12, compares the screen of trees that begins on the left of the 'Road along the Amstel' in Vienna (Benesch 1277), suggesting that the same site may be depicted and that the drawing, although slightly larger, may have come from the same sketchbook.
[5] Royalton-Kisch, 1992, p.121.

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Michel, 1893, p.584; Kleinmann, III, no.45 (wrongly in sepia); Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XLIX; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.952; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.108; Benesch, 1935, p.32 (c.1640-42); Wimmer, 1935, p.59 (cut; early 1640s? authenticity questionable); Wimmer, 1942, pp.59 and 68 (style of Rembrandt, not by him); Benesch, 1947, p.37, under no.178 (compares the sketch of the 'Amstel River', École des Beaux-Arts, Benesch 1258); Benesch, VI, 1957/73, no.1255, repr. fig.1481/1559 (c.1651, based on analogies with Berlin sketch of 'Amsterdam Town Hall' of c.1652, Benesch 1275; belongs to same sketchbook as the 'St Anthoniessluis', Berlin, Benesch 1257, the 'Amstel River', École des Beaux-Arts, Benesch 1258 and cat. no.63 [1890,0512.161, Benesch 1256]); Exh. Washington, 1990, p.207, under no.58 and pp.211-12, under no.60 (c.1645; see nn.2 and 4 above); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.466 (top of sheet was in gutter of sketchbook); Royalton-Kisch, 1992, p.121, repr. p.123 (discussed with other black chalk drawings; drawn from life); Berlin, 2006, p.132, under no.36.

Literature after Royalton-Kisch 2010: Holm Bevers, review of Martin Royalton-Kisch catalogue, in The Burlington Magazine (2013), p.103 (dated around 1647/8); Isabel Seligman, 'Lines of Thought', (British Museum, 2016), no. 4, p. 39.

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased through Deprez & Gutekunst (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from William Mitchell (Sale, Frankfurt-am-Main, F.A.C. Prestel, 1890, 7 May, lot 90 (with two drawings), bt Deprez & Guteku) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Ambroise Firmin-Didot (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Comte Antoine Francois Andréossy (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
A.-F. Andréossy; his sale, Paris, 13ff. April, 1864, lot 394, bt Firmin-Didot, 110 francs, with cat. no.63 (1890,0512.161, Benesch 1256); A. Firmin-Didot; his sale, Paris, Drouot, 16 April-12 May, 1877, lot 79, sold for 105 francs, with cat. no.63 (1890,0512.161, Benesch 1256); W. Mitchell; his sale, Frankfurt, Prestel, 7 May, 1890, lot 90, with cat. no.63 (1890,0512.161, Benesch 1256), bt Deprez and Gutekunst for British Museum.

Exhibition History

London, 1891, no.113b;
1899, no.A68b;
1938, no.108;
London, BM, 1992, 'Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle', no.69, repr. (c.1645);
Boston-Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts/Chicago Art Institute, 2003-4, 'Rembrandt's Journey...'
2016 3 Sep - 6 Nov, Poole Museum, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 4
2017 1 Jan - 25 Feb, The Brynmor Jones Library Art Gallery, University of Hull, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 4
2017 12 Mar - 5 May, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 4
2017 May - Sep, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 4
2017-2018 Oct - Jan, RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 4

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