A man in a high-crowned hat, drawing; HL almost to front, looking down. c.1655 Pen and brown ink, with brown wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.99

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 1091
Hind 1915-31 87 (as Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Maes.7

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 Nicolaes Maes (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A man in a high-crowned hat, drawing; half-length almost to front, looking down. c.1655

Pen and brown ink with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and black ink.

Verso: laid down on card.

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: Inscribed on backing, in graphite: ‘47/3 [in a circle]’.

Height: 65 millimetres (chain lines uncertain)
Width: 53 millimetres

Generally good, though presumably trimmed from a larger sheet; a small tear and hole in the hat; a few spots (foxing?), mainly lower right, and pin pricks (?) upper left.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Nicolaes Maes, cat. no.7.
The drawing has long been associated with two drawings now catalogued as by Willem Drost (cat. nos.5 and 6; Oo,9.96 and 98),[1] although they diverge in style. An attribution to Nicolaes Maes merits consideration in the light of comparisons with his pen and ink figure drawings, including that in the Museum's collection for the 'Christ blessing the Children' (cat. no.3; inv.1972.U.674; Sumowski 1762); the form of the hands and the nearer sleeve and the somewhat schematic indication of the collar resemble Maes' draughtsmanship. Further comparisons may be made with studies such as the 'Carrot Peeler' formerly in the Woodner collection (Sumowski 1771; sold Christie's 2 July 1991, lot 216) the 'Standing Youth in a long Robe' in Rotterdam (Sumowski 1894x)[2] and the 'Three Sketches of a Woman' in Munich (Sumowski 1997x). These comparisons point to a date in the years around 1655,[3] the period to which it has usually been assigned in the past under Rembrandt's name (see Lit. below). A similar figure is seen from the side in an anonymous school drawing now in Dresden (Benesch 1095).[4]

[1] They were acquired together, have numerically similar register numbers and were exhibited as a group in 1899 as nos.A74a-c.
[2] Rotterdam, 1988, no.117.
[3] The Woodner drawing is a study for Maes' painting of 1655 in the National Gallery, London (repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', no.1333). Robinson, 1987, p.257, n.25, rejects Maes' authorship of the Munich drawing (Sumowski 1997x) but without elaborating his arguments.
[4] As observed in Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.95 (inv.C1421).

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Bürger, 1858, p.401 (mounted on the same sheet as cat. nos.101 and 103); Michel, 1893, p.581, repr. p.353; Lippmann, II, no.41b; Kleinmann, III, no.54; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XXXIV; Valentiner, 1905, p.60 (c.1652; a portrait of Titus); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.902 (c.1655); Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.87, repr. pl.III (c.1650-60); Benesch, 1935, p.61 (c.1655-6; as for cat. no.103, q.v.); Benesch, 1947, p.45, under no.238 (as Benesch, 1935); Benesch, V, 1957/73, no.1091, repr. fig.1310/1383 (c.1655-6; portrait of a pupil done by artificial light; compares 'Self-Portrait', Rembrandthuis, Benesch 1171, and cat. no.103); Slive, 1964, p.296, n.14 (mid-1650s); Slive, 1965, I, no.265, repr. (c.1655-8); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.537; Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (Drost rather than Maes); Exh. Dresden, 2004, p.170, under no.95 (see n.4 above).

artistic life (scope note | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight (as a ‘Self-Portrait’ of Rembrandt) (biographical details | all objects)

Exhibition History
London, 1899, A74c (c.1650-60, probably nearer 1660; with Drost cat. nos.5 and 6; Oo,9.96 and 98, compared with Drost cat.no.3; 1855,1013.39);
1938, no.87 (c.1650-60);
1956, under no.20; 1992, no.99, repr. (attrib. to Maes);
1992, BM Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, No 99

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