Landscape, with a road by a canal; cottages amid trees on either side and a drop bridge at l foreground. c.1650-53 Reed pen and black ink, on light brown prepared paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1283

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 102
Benesch 1973 1242
Royalton-Kisch 2010 69 (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)
1650-1653 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A road by a canal; cottages amid trees on either side and a drop bridge at left foreground. c.1650-53
Pen and black ink on paper washed brown; ruled framing lines in pencil.
Verso: see Inscriptions.
Watermark: posthorn in a crowned shield (not unlike Heawood 2715, Amsterdam, 1668).

Inscription Content: Inscribed lower right, in graphite: '14.'; verso, in graphite: 'Add 29'.

Height: 134 millimetres
Width: 231 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 25/26mm apart)

Generally good, but damaged near left edge and repaired along the top; some dirt (resembling rubbed black chalk) lower right.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.69.
The drawing is one of five landscapes executed on toned paper - with which Rembrandt often experimented - in a delicate, sparing style and with a fine nib (the others are the 'Inn and Sailing-Boat' in the Rijksmuseum, Benesch 1221, the Chatsworth drawing, Benesch 1243, mentioned below, the 'Canal with a Bridge' in the Pierpont Morgan Library, Benesch 1343 and cat. no.68; 1895,0915.1259).[1] The same view is repeated in the drawing at Chatsworth (Benesch 1243) but seen from a little further to the left with a few extra trees before the inn while those on the right appear nearer - an instructive example of the licence the artist might take while composing on the page.
The road depicted is a main one, with a track for carriages on the left and another for pedestrians in the centre of the drawing, while the building behind is an inn, its sign visible. The location is probably on the Amstelveense weg to the south of Amsterdam, an area often represented by Rembrandt.[2] Comparisons with Rembrandt's dated drawings and landscape etchings suggest that the group to which the present work belongs should be dated around 1650-53. This coincides with the two sheets of 1652 in the Six album (Benesch 913-14) which betray something of the same spare and delicate calligraphy, and the two etchings, 'Landscape with a Road beside a Canal' of c.1652 (Bartsch 221, Hind 264) and the 'Landscape with a Sportsman and Dogs' of c.1653 (Bartsch 211, Hind 265), which both include attenuated lines in trees that frame the compositions, an effect similar to that found here and in the Chatsworth drawing.[3]
A copy is in the Brandt collection, Amsterdam.[4]

[1] Some landscape drawings with toned paper are listed in Exh. Washington, 1990, p.31, n.31. Other drawings in a comparable style to the present sheet are the three sketches of 'Wooded Roads' from Chatsworth (Benesch 1251-3, the last now in the Getty Museum), the 'Inn beside a Road' (Benesch 1314, formerly also at Chatsworth and now in the Abrams coll.) and the 'Swigh Utrecht Tower' (Benesch 1334, Rijksmuseum).
[2] First identified by J.F. Backer, as reported by Lugt, 1920, p.150, who had previously (1915, p.147) considered an area east of Amsterdam. Lugt was uncertain of the identification with the Amstelveense weg because the level of the road and the landscape to the left should, he thought, differ. Boudewijn Bakker (in conversation, 2 August 1989) believed the Amstelveensche weg to be the most probable location but considers the road to Sloten another possibility. The former identification is supported in Exh. Amsterdam-Paris, 1998-9, p.53.
[3] The attempt to redate Bartsch 211 to c.1645-8 in Exh. Washington, 1990, no.33 is in my view unconvincing.
[4] Published by Sumowski, 1961, p.22, and repr. ibid., 1964[I], p.245, fig.14; pen and wash on brown paper, 110 x 192. Listed as a copy by Benesch, 1973 ed., and to judge from the photograph this assessment is correct. It was formerly in the Argoutinsky-Dolgroukoff collection, then with Mellaart, Wiegersma and K. Hehewerth.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
Lippmann, IV, no.68; Kleinmann, III, no.59; London, 1915, no.102 (compares for style and the scene the Chatsworth drawing, Benesch 1243); Lugt, 1915, p.147, n.1 (notes omission by Hofstede de Groot, 1906; as London, 1915, identifying the scene as perhaps the 'Meer' or 'Diemermeer' area east of Amsterdam); Lugt, 1920, p.150, n.1 (as in 1915, but see n.2); Van Dyke, 1927, p.134 (not Rembrandt; belongs to his group I); Wimmer, 1935, p.42 (as London, 1915); Wimmer, 1942, p.42 (as London, 1915); Benesch, VI, 1957/73, no.1242, repr. fig.1471/1543 (c.1650; groups stylistically with other sheets showing winter or early spring: in Petit Palais, Benesch 1241, the Chatsworth sheet, the 'Inn with Sailing Boat', Amsterdam, Benesch 1221 and cat. no.79); Slive, 1965, II, no.515, repr. (c.1650); Sumowski, 1961, p.22 (see n.4 above); Sumowski, 1964[I], p.244 (c.1650; see n.4 above); Muller, 1968[I], p.47, repr. (c.1648-50; near Amstelveen; compares cat. no.86; Oo,9.111); Sumowski, 1971, p.131 (compares a drawing attrib. to Furnerius, but given by Sumowski to Rembrandt, in a German priv. coll.); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.33, repr. fig.33a (early 1650s; compares Rijksmuseum drawing, Benesch 1221, and the 'Inn beside a Road' now Abrams collection, Benesch 1314); Exh. Washington, 1990, p.31, n.31 (see n.1 above); Schatborn, 1994, p. 23; Berlin, 2006, p.147, n.2, under no.42 (compares Berlin drawing, Benesch 1251).

Acquisition date

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

Acquisition notes
W. Mitchell; his sale, Frankfurt, Prestel, 5-6 May, 1890, lot 88; John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with his collection (designated as Malcolm Add.29), 1895.

Exhibition History
London, 1895, no.385;
1899, no.A40;
1938, no.102;
1956, p.14, no.7 (late);
1992, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.80, repr.;
1998/9, Amsterdam-Paris, Gemeentearchief/Institut Neerlandais, 'Rembrandt's Amsterdam', p.53, repr. fig.10, pp.321-4, repr. fig.2, and p.338;
Kassel-Leiden, Gemäldegalerie/Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, 2006-7, 'Rembrandt's Landscapes', p.189, repr. fig.168, and no.46.

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