Two studies of old men's heads; one at l, turned almost to r, with a broad beard and cap, the other with a double pointed beard and conical cap. c.1639 Pen and brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: FrontFull: Front

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1265

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 19
Royalton-Kisch 2010 22 (Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 687
JCR 793

Dutch Roy XVIIc

Back to search results

Back to catalogue

Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1639 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Two studies of old men's heads; one at left, turned almost to right, with a broad beard and cap, the other with a double pointed beard and conical cap. c.1639
Pen and brown ink.
Verso: laid down on remnant of old mat.
No watermark.

Inscription Content: None visible or recorded; on verso of old backing, in pen and brown ink: ‘950 [crossed out in graphite]’; in graphite: ‘793’, and below: ‘772 [erased]’.

Height: 81 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 22mm apart)
Width: 94 millimetres

Worn, with stains, and a patch replaced lower right; presumably cut from a larger sheet.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.22:
The sketch has been dated either to the first half of the 1630s or the early 1640s. A compromise view can be argued through a drawing in Berlin (Benesch 223 verso), which shows a comparable model with his head in a similar pose.[1] The style is analogous and both drawings were together at an early date in the collection of Jonathan Richardson, sen. (d.1745). The recto of the Berlin sheet contains a sketch of an 'Old Woman with a Child', which on the basis of a comparison with the verso of cat. no.24 (Gg,2.248; note the same slashing strokes of shading across the figures as well as the iron-gall medium) can be dated c.1639, and the present study should be placed in the same period.[2]
The drawing was etched by J. J. de Claussin on a plate with motifs from several sheets, including cat. no.35 (1910,0212.188), q.v..
[1] The model for the head on the right resembles the drawing attributed to van den Eeckhout (cat. no.18; 1895,0915.1263), q.v.
[2] Benesch's comparison with the 'Smoker' (Benesch 686, private collection) of 1643 is understandable, but the similarities with the Berlin drawing are more persuasive.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt except where stated otherwise):
Robinson, 1869/76, no.772/793; Kleinmann, IV, no.22; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.918; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; Hind, 1913-14, no.19, repr. (c.1628-35); London, 1915, no.19 (c.1630-35); Benesch, 1935, p.36 (c.1642-3); Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.687, repr. fig.823/873 (c.1643-4; see n.2 above); Giltaij, 1995, p.98 (not by Rembrandt); Berlin, 2006, p.97, under no.23 (as Exh. London, 1992, noting fine quill here and in Berlin drawing, also seen in drawing in Rouen, Benesch 230).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Edward Vernon Utterson (L.909) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir John Charles Robinson (L.1433) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jonathan Richardson Senior (L.2183) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Joshua Reynolds (L.2364) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Anon Lugt 1729 (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2183); Sir Joshua Reynolds (L.2364); unidentified collector ‘L.G.’ (L.1729)*; Edward Utterson (L.909; not identifiable in his sale, 1857); J. C. Robinson (L.1433); John Malcolm of Poltalloch (L.1489 verso); purchased with his collection, 1895. * The Count Gelosi or ‘Geloso’ provenance was proposed by Robinson, 1869, no.772 and repeated by all later writers, but the ‘L.G.’ mark is not thought to be his.

Exhibition History
London, 1895, no.377a;
1899, no.A23;
1938, no.19 (c.1630-35);
1956, p.15, no.3;
1992, no.25, repr. in colour (c.1639; compares Berlin drawing, Benesch 223 verso);
Braunschweig, 2006, under nos.13-14 (comparing drawings attr. to Govert Flinck in Braunschweig, inv. nos.86 and 87, Sumowski 951x-952x).

Noticed a mistake? Have some extra information about this object? Please contact us

To bookmark this page select "Bookmark this page" or "Add to favourites" from the web browser menu.