Farm buildings near a canal; two long, low cottages and other buildings in the background running at right angles to a canal, trees between. c.1650 Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, on light grey-brown prepared paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1258

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 101
JCR 786
Royalton-Kisch 2010 80 (attributed to Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 836

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)
1650 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Farm buildings near a canal; two long, low cottages and other buildings in the background running at right angles to a canal, trees between. c.1650

Pen and dark greyish brown ink with greyish brown wash on grey paper; ruled framing lines in pen and grey ink.

Verso: see Inscriptions.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Verso, in graphite: 'b' and '786* [in a circle]' and '82'; top left, 'O Rem [?]'; lower right, upside down: '[…]/1856'.

Height: 116 millimetres
Width: 222 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 23/25mm apart)

Generally good; a water stain affects the upper and left edges.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Rembrandt, cat. no.80.
The drawing is unusually slight and timid for a landscape sketch by Rembrandt in pen and ink. The main building resembles the farm that appears, with variations, in several other prints and drawings by Rembrandt: a drawing in Dresden of c.1650 (Benesch 1234); the etched 'Landscape with a Milkman' of about 1650 (Bartsch 213, Hind 242) and the related drawing in Oxford (Benesch 1227); the etched 'Landscape with a Hay Barn and a Flock of Sheep' of 1652 (Bartsch 224, Hind 241), which shows the farm from the other side, as does another drawing in Oxford (Benesch 1226). Several draughtsmen from Rembrandt's circle also depicted the farm, which was situated near the St Anthoniesdijk between Amsterdam and Houtewaal, and it is possible that some of their works were made simultaneously on joint sketching expeditions.[1] Yet the foliage and the lack of a haybarn in the British Museum's drawing suggest that it was made at a different time of year to the others.[2]
Although an uncharacteristic example of Rembrandt's landscape drawings, there seem to be adequate reasons for admitting the possibility of its authenticity, albeit with reservations. A false start was made for the further building, which has two roof-lines, and the architectural details of the nearer farm are not entirely clear.[3] Yet the reticence and delicacy of the drawing, which have been appreciated by past writers, should not be undervalued.[4] Although somewhat tentative in handling, the style groups it with other landscapes executed with an exceptionally fine nib, including the 'Landscape with Farmstead' at Chatsworth (Benesch 846); the 'Landscape with a Horse rolling on its back' in Groningen (Benesch 1225), the 'View of Haarlem' in Rotterdam (Benesch 1259) and the 'Omval at the Amstel River' formerly at Chatsworth (Benesch 1321). The handling of the canal in the middle distance of the 'Winter Landscape' in the Fogg Art Museum (Benesch 845) is also similar, as are the trees in the 'Farmstead with a Haybarn' in Chicago (Benesch 1297) and the 'View of Kostverloren' in Dresden.[5] No school drawings are as comparable.
Some corroboration for a date c.1650 is suggested by the analogies with a drawing in Berlin, the 'Landscape with Cottages' (Benesch 835), which represents the same subject as the etched 'Landscape with three gabled Cottages' (Bartsch 217, Hind 246), which is dated that year.[6]

[1] A list of drawings of the site, which was identified by Lugt, 1920, was compiled by him in Paris, 1933 (see Lit. below), to which Broos (Amsterdam, 1981, p.151) added the school drawing in the British Museum (J. Koninck cat. no.5; Oo,9.107), which again shows the building from the other side.
[2] As noted by White, 1969 (see Lit. below).
[3] Boudewijn Bakker, in conversation (2 August 1989) pointed out that the position of the chimney is unusual, being normally more central.
[4] Eisler, 1918, p.60, described the drawing as 'mit ein paar feinen, fliehenden Strichen im Duft gegebenen, lang gestreckten Bauernhof'; Slive, 1965, II, no.517, noted that 'the original gives the impression that it was gently blown, not drawn, upon the paper'. Some uncertainty about the drawing's authenticity was first expressed by Wimmer, 1935, p.59. Schatborn's suggestion (1990[I], p.36) that it is by Abraham van Dyck seems unfounded (compare the Edinburgh drawing, Sumowski 600xx, and that in Amsterdam, repr. Schatborn, 1985, p.99).
[5] Inv.C.1910-52; Exh. Dresden, 2006, no.110.
[6] The comparison with the Berlin drawing, Benesch 835, was first made by Benesch; the Berlin drawing (on which see most recently Berlin, 2006, no.41) was first related to the etching by Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.57. I do not share the doubts about the authenticity of Benesch 1225 expressed in Exh. Washington, 1990, p.125, n.4. It should be compared, for example, with the 'Farmstead' in Washington, op. cit., no.16, Benesch 1297.

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Robinson, 1876, no.786; Lippmann, IV, no.69b; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.961; London, 1915, no.101; Eisler, 1918, p.68 (c.1650; see n.3); Lugt, 1920, p.138 (same view as etched 'Landscape with Milkman', Bartsch 213, Hind 242, in which reversed; situated between Houtewaal and the bay in the IJ, along the St Anthoniesdijk, the dyke itself not visible in the drawing); Paris, 1933, p.66, under no.1338 (notes works of same location by Rembrandt and pupils: etchings 'Landscape with Haybarn and Flock of Sheep', Bartsch 224, Hind 241, of 1652; 'Landscape with Milkman' Bartsch 213, Hind 242; drawings at Oxford, Benesch 1226-7; a copy of the latter [also repr. by Benesch, sold Sotheby's, London, 9 April, 1970, lot 70]; a 'school' drawing in Dresden [presumably a reference to Benesch 1234]; P. Koninck drawing in Amsterdam, Fodor coll. - see Amsterdam, 1981, below; Jan Lievens drawing sold from O. Huldschinsky coll., Berlin, 3 Nov. 1931, no.60, repr. [also repr. Amsterdam, 1981, p.152, fig.b]); Benesch, 1935, p.49 (c.1650-52; compares drypoint 'Landscape with a Road beside a Canal', Bartsch 221, Hind 264, and Chatsworth drawing of a 'Road in the Polder', Benesch 1243); Wimmer, 1935, p.59 (c.1650; attribution uncertain); Amsterdam, 1942, p.40, under no.78 (compares Rijksmuseum 'Landscape with Inn and Sailing-Boat', Benesch 1221); Wimmer, 1942, pp.59 and 68 (as in 1935; lacks depth); Münz, 1952, II, p.84, under no.160 (follows Paris, 1933); Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.836, repr. fig.984/1039 (c.1648-50; compares drawings of similar subjects in Berlin, Benesch 833 and 835, and Amsterdam, Benesch 834); Slive, 1965, II, no.517 repr. (c.1647-50; see n.3 above); White, 1969, I, pp.191n. and 211, repr. II, pl.320 (late 1640s; as Paris, 1933; the various views drawn at different times of the year, as may be seen from lack of foliage and haybarn in the present drawing); Exh. Vienna, 1970-71, p.114, under no.192 (as Paris, 1933); Amsterdam, 1972, p.127 (as Lugt, 1920); Amsterdam, 1981, p.151 (as Paris 1933, adding that same farm seen in British Museum school drawing [here as J. Koninck cat. no.5; Oo,9.107]); Exh. Washington, 1990, p.119 and n.5, repr. fig.2 (attribution doubtful); Schatborn, 1990[I], p.36 (Abraham van Dyck?).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Acquired by John Malcolm of Poltalloch after publication of Robinson, 1869 and 1876; purchased with John Malcolm of Poltalloch's collection, 1895.

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A43;
1938, no.101;
1992, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.76, repr. in colour (c.1650).

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