Study of the head and arms of a child; looking to front. c.1650-55 Pen and grey-brown ink, on pale buff paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.98

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 1090
Hind 1915-31 86 (as Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Drost.6

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 Willem Drost (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1650-1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Study of the head and arms of a child; looking to front. c.1650-55
Pen and dark greyish-brown ink, touched with white (in the forehead only) on pale buff paper (the paper may originally have been grey and then either tinted brown or gradually become stained brown); ruled framing lines in pen and black ink.
Verso: laid down on card.
No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: Inscribed on backing, in graphite: ‘47/2 [in a circle]’, ‘98’ and ‘1953’.

Height: 65 millimetres (chain lines unclear)
Width: 52 millimetres

Generally good, but foxed; clearly trimmed from a larger sheet; the tone of the paper perhaps affected by a general yellowish-brown discolouration.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Willem Drost, cat. no.6.
The drawing has long been associated with Maes (attrib.) cat. no.7 (q.v.) and cat. no.5 (Oo,9.99 and Oo,9.96) although they do not form an entirely homogeneous group. The attribution to Willem Drost is prompted by the drawing's similarity to the other works here placed under his name (see cat. nos.3-5 and 7, 1855,1013.39, 1910,0212.178, Oo,9.96 and 1900,0411.4). The style is also comparable to that of two of the sheets most convincingly ascribed to him, the 'Ruth and Naomi' in Bremen (Sumowski 546; a study for the painting in Oxford[1]) and the 'Christ and the Magdalene' in Copenhagen (Sumowski 547x). The somewhat splintered or fragmented limbs of the child and the pockets of parallel hatching seem typical of these and other drawings attributable to him.

[1] The painting is repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, no.311; Bruyn, 1984, p.154, points out that it is a fragment.

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Bürger, 1858, p.401 (mounted on same sheet as Maes (attrib.) cat. no.7 and cat. no.5, Oo,9.99 and Oo,9.96); Michel, 1893, p.581, repr. p.208; Lippmann, II, no.41a; Kleinmann, III, no.55; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XXXV; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.904 (c.1655); Saxl, 1908, p.338 (c.1654; perhaps same child as in etched 'Circumcision in the Stable', Bartsch 47, Hind 274, of 1654); Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.86 (c.1650-60); Benesch, 1935, p.61 (c.1655-6, as Exh. London, 1899; also compares paintings of mid-1650s and numerous drawings, including 'Young Girl asleep', Dresden, Benesch 1100, 'Young Man in high Hat', Stockholm, Benesch 1094, 'Seated Woman', Amsterdam, Benesch 1164, and cat. no.7, 1900,0411.4); Benesch, 1947, p.45, under no.238 (as Benesch, 1935; reflects study of Mantegna); Benesch, V, 1957/73, no.1090, repr. fig.1309/1382 (c.1655-6; apparently done by artificial light; compares painting of 'Titus' in Rotterdam, Bredius 120, of 1655; compares Maes (attrib.) cat. no.7 (Oo,9.99) and 'Self-Portrait' in Rembrandthuis, Benesch 1171); Slive, 1964, p.296, n.14 (mid-1650s); Slive, 1965, I, no.264 (c.1655-8); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.537; Vogel-Köhn, 1981, pp.8 and 92, no.96, repr. (c.1655-60; compares Madrid 'Woman and Child', Benesch 1089, and Maes (attrib.) cat. no.7 (Oo,9.99)); White, 1992, p.268 (sceptical of attribution to Drost in Exh. London, 1992); Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (agrees by Drost, as Exh. London, 1992); Exh. Dresden, 2004, p.157, under no.82 (as Exh. London, 1992; compares drawing of 'Child asleep', Dresden, inv. C1896-36, which ascribed to Drost).

child (scope note | all objects)

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A74b (c.1650-60, probably nearer 1660; with cat. nos.99 and 101 compared to cat. no.100);
1938, no.86 (c.1650-60);
1956, under no.20;
1992, no.103, repr. (as Drost).

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