A woman standing in a church; wearing a wide-brimmed hat with veil, her hands placed together , behind are a preacher in a pulpit and other figures Pen and brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1859,0806.73

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 57 (as Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 656
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Flinck.9

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 Govert Flinck (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1640-1645 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A woman standing in a church; wearing a wide-brimmed hat with veil, her hands placed together, behind are a preacher in a pulpit and other figures. c.1640-45
Pen and dark brown ink, extended to the left by a later hand in grey ink on an added strip of different paper; framing lines in pen and brown ink.
Verso: see Inscriptions.
Watermark: Countermark PR.

Inscription Content: Inscribed lower right, in pen and brown ink: ‘R.’; verso, in graphite: ‘54 [in a circle]’ and ‘8.’.

Height: 185 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 22mm apart for the main drawing; the added strip 24mm apart)
Width: 148 millimetres (including the vertical strip 32mm wide added to the left)

Cut and repaired to left (see under medium) and perhaps also trimmed to right; some staining, especially at the corners.

Curator's comments
Attributed to Flinck in P. Schatborn, 'The early, Rembrandtesque Drawings of Govert Flinck', in Master Drawings 48 (2010), p.29, fig.29.

Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Govert Flinck, cat. no.9.
The subject of the drawing is uncertain.[1] The traditional attribution to Rembrandt has generally been accepted. In style it resembles his drawings of about 1639-45, as seen, for example, in Rembrandt cat. nos.23, 24, 28 and 74 (1891,0713.9; Gg,2.248; 1910,0212.185 and 1861,0608.149)[2] but the slacker draughtsmanship throughout is uncharacteristic of the master. Previous writers have compared a variety of sheets, none of them of unquestionable authenticity, and suggested dates ranging from c.1632 to 1642 (see Lit. below). Some of the drawings to which it has been compared have recently been reattributed to Ferdinand Bol (1616-80). The present sheet provides perhaps closer analogies with works given to another Rembrandt pupil of the same generation, Govaert Flinck (1615-60). Flinck's 'Musketeer' in Copenhagen (Benesch A33; Sumowski 953x as Flinck), though somewhat firmer in its modelling (perhaps because it may have been drawn from life), betrays similar characteristics in the penwork, not least in the cross-hatching employed below the rim of the hat in both drawings, and an attribution to him is here tentatively proposed.[3]

[1] The woman, in a church interior, may have been intended to represent a figure in the story of the 'Widow's Mite' (Mark XII, 41-4; Luke XXI, 1-4). A version of this subject by another Rembrandt follower is in the Museum (cat. no.109; Oo,10.127).
[2] Compare the drawing of the 'Kneeling Man', Benesch 477, in Bayonne related to Rembrandt's etching of 1640 of the 'Beheading of the Baptist', Bartsch 92, Hind 171. This is shaded below the arm in an identical fashion, but with considerably more sensitivity. Similar results emerge from a comparison with Rembrandt's studies for the 'Hundred Guilder Print', in particular Benesch 183, on which see also Amsterdam, 1985, no.21 (where dated by Schatborn as late as 1647) and Benesch 188 in Berlin. Perhaps the closest comparison that may be made with a currently accepted drawing is with the 'Three Orientals conversing', Benesch 682, in the Rijksmuseum, dated by Schatborn, op.cit., no.26, to the mid-1640s. But the attribution is contentious and an identity of hands by no means certain.
[3] The dubious signature on Flinck's study in Copenhagen appears to strengthen an earlier inscription beneath. A similar strengthening has occurred on another drawing in Copenhagen, Philips Koninck's 'Three Peasants', inv. no.7327, Gernsheim 72486, but the attribution, to Ostade, is erroneous.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 ('attributed to' Rembrandt); Lippmann, I, no.125b; Kleinmann, III, no.38; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.VIII; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.922 (c.1635-40); Saxl, 1908, p.234 (model perhaps that used for younger woman in Louvre painting of 'Angel leaving Tobit' of 1637, Bredius 503, Corpus A121); Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.57 (c.1635-40); Van Dyke, 1927, p.83 (de Gelder?); Berlin, 1930, p.233, under no.2685 (compares 'Woman in rich oriental Costume', Berlin, Benesch 317, 'Standing Shepherdess' now Amsterdam [not in Benesch, but Sumowski 179x as Bol], and the 'Woman in a rich Dress and Veil' in New York, Benesch 318); Benesch, 1935, p.16 (c.1632-3; compares Stockholm 'Sheet of Studies', Benesch 654); Amsterdam, 1942, p.5, under no.12; Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.656, repr. fig.792/838 (c.1640-42; compares 'Expulsion of Hagar', Benesch 504 [Sumowski 214x as Bol], priv. coll. New Jersey, 'Eliezer and Rebecca', Benesch 503, Washington and Benesch 491 of same subject, Edinburgh; also Benesch 654, as in 1935); White, 1961, p.278 (compares studies of 'Heads of old Men', Oxford, Benesch 339a); Benesch, 1964, p.122, reprinted 1970, p.447 (compares 'Group of Men in Conversation', Benesch 735A, priv. coll.); Slive, 1965, I, no.129, repr.(c.1640); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.292; Amsterdam, 1981, p.53; White, 1992, p.268 (not convinced by attribution to Flinck in Exh. London, 1992); Schatborn, 1994, pp.21 and 24 (agrees with Exh. London, 1992 attrib. to Flinck); Röver-Kann, 2003, p.143, n.14 (as Exh. London, 1992; compares 'Bathsheba and David' in Munich, Inv.1394, Sumowski 950x as Flinck); Berlin, 2006, p.73, under no.15 (as Schatborn, 1994).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased through Walter Benjamin Tiffin (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased through Christie's (20.vii.1859/125) (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from Charles Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Bouverie (L.325) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Anon Lugt 1891 (all objects)

Acquisition notes
Unidentified mark (L.1891; pre-Bouverie sale); John Bouverie (L.325); by descent to 1st Earl of Gainsborough; his sale, Christie’s, 1859, 20 July, lot 125, bt Tiffin with one other (here Eeckhout cat. no.19; 1859,0806.72) for British Museum.

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A35 (placed between drawings of 1642 and 1645; notes addition to left);
1938, no.57 (c.1635-40);
1956, p.26, no.4;
1992, no.96, repr. (attrib. to Flinck).

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