A bearded old man in a fur hat, leaning on a stick; WL, almost to l, wearing a cloak and breeches. c.1641-5 Pen and brown ink, touched with brown wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.97

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 25
Royalton-Kisch 2010 36 (Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 669

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)
1645-1645 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A bearded old man in a fur hat, leaning on a stick; whole-length, almost to left, wearing a cloak and breeches. c.1641-1645

Pen and brown ink, touched with brown wash; framing lines in pale brown ink.

Verso: see Inscriptions.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Verso, inscribed top, in graphite: 'B97 [?]' and '40 [in a circle]'.

Height: 111 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 25mm apart)
Width: 56 millimetres

The ink has run in parts, suggesting that an attempt was once made to clean the drawing; the top of the hat has suffered abrasion and perhaps also from a cleaning agent; a stain, upper right, of brown wash and a dark grey substance, perhaps oxidised white; a small loss made up, lower left.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.36:
Although the breadth and density of the hatching is unusual for Rembrandt, the attribution to him is admissible on the basis of comparisons with other works of the 1640s. The large drawing dated 1641 of 'Two Men in Discussion' now in the Courtauld Institute (Prince's Gate Collection, Benesch 500a) is modelled in a similar style, as also the 'Studies for the sick Woman in the Hundred Guilder Print' of c.1647 in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 183).[1] A date in the mid-1640s is further supported by the man's proximity to the one led towards Christ in the 'Hundred Guilder Print' of c.1648 (Bartsch 74, Hind 236).[2] Rembrandt made numerous such studies of everyday characters in the 1640s, and it may be that some were made with this etching in mind although not used. Superficial similarities exist with earlier drawings of the same type and this has led many writers to date the present drawing too early, in the 1630s (see Lit. below).

[1] Dated c.1647 by Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985, no.21.
[2] For the date of the print, see Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, no.61.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
Bürger, 1858, p.401 (early); Kleinmann, III, no.34; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XXXII; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.910 (c.1632-4); Wurzbach, 1910, p.419; London, 1915, no.25 (placed with drawings of c.1630-35); Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.669, repr. fig.809/852 (c.1641-2; compares cat. no.77 and Flinck cat. no.9, Oo,9.76 and 1859,0806.73, Benesch 679 and 656, and the two 'Studies of Orientals' Benesch 667 Warsaw and Benesch 668 formerly in Paris).

Acquisition date

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

Acquisition notes
Verso inscribed by collectors with numerals.

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A8 (c.1631-6);
1938, no.25;
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.39, repr. (1641-5).

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