A bearded man in a high cap, with folded hands; HL, slightly to r, looking round to l, apparently leaning on a surface. c.1633-5 Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1263

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 18 (as Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 267
JCR 791
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Eeckhout.18

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 Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1638 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A bearded man in a high cap; with folded hands, half-length, slightly to right, looking round to left, apparently leaning on a surface. c.1638
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white
Verso: see Inscriptions
Watermark: Strasbourg lily with letters 'WR' (fragment only), similar to Exh. Paris, 1997-8, p.241, no.8 (a drawing by Rembrandt datable c.1640)

Inscription Content: An erased inscription in pen and brown ink by Esdaile’s mark, lower left, illegible also under ultra-violet light; perhaps also an erased ‘JCR’ (Robinson’s mark, L.1433) at this point (see Acquisition), and an erased number, lower right, probably ‘288’; verso, in pen and brown ink, by Esdaile: ‘1835 WE’; upper centre, in graphite: ‘S’ and lower left: ‘770 [erased]’ and ‘No.13’; lower left, also in graphite: ‘af.’.

Height: 170 millimetres
Width: 125 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 27mm apart)

Generally good, though somewhat stained with yellowish patches (not foxing).

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, attributed to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, cat. no.18:
There is a resemblance between the features and the intertwined fingers of the present figure and those of one of the mourners in Rembrandt's 'Deposition', most clearly visible in the etched version of 1633 (Bartsch 81, Hind 103). A similar pose for the arms and hands was also considered for the apostle at the centre of his drawing of 'Christ among the Apostles' in Haarlem, which is dated 1634 (Benesch 89).
Doubts have been expressed concerning the attribution and the name of Ferdinand Bol invoked (see Lit. below). However the analogies with the work of van den Eeckhout are stronger, for example with the 'Crucifixion' in Berlin (Benesch 108), recently assigned to him, which is particularly comparable in the use of the wash.[1] Also comparable is cat.no.18 (1859,0806.72). This attribution is adopted here with some hesitation, not only because the attribution of the Berlin drawing to van den Eeckhout remains tentative, but also because the comparisons with Rembrandt's own work are almost as convincing.[2] The problem of authorship is exacerbated by the fact that the development of Rembrandt's draughtsmanship in pen and ink in the first half of the 1630s is impossible to reconstruct on the basis of his most securely attributed drawings. If by Eeckhout the drawing probably dates from around 1638, during his apprenticeship with Rembrandt (perhaps also the approximate date of the watermark - see above).
It has been noted that the same model was used in a drawing in the Louvre (Benesch 268).[3] The features are also similar to those of the model on the right in Rembrandt cat. no.22 (1895,0915.1265). Whether the drawing was made with a particular subject in mind is uncertain.

[1] See Berlin, 2006, pp.192-3.
[2] Compare the 'Four Studies of Saskia' in Rotterdam (Benesch 360), plausibly dated 1635-6 by Schatborn, 1975, p.10, who identified the child depicted as Rumbartus, the artist's eldest son, baptised 15 December, 1635, died 15 February, 1636.
[3] By Lugt in Paris, 1933, under no.1168, followed by Benesch, II, 1954/73, under no.267. Benesch also compared the ex-Gutekunst 'Holy Family' (Benesch 114), and the Weimar 'Scribe sharpening his Quill' (Benesch 263).

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated):
Robinson, 1869/76, no.770/791; Kleinmann, IV, no.3; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.911; London, 1915, no.18 (c.1630-3; compares to Benesch 113, here cat. no.19; 1859,0806.72); Van Dyke, 1927, p.106 (perhaps by Lievens); Parts, 1933, p.23, under no.1168 (same model as in Benesch 268 in Louvre); Benesch, 1935, p.22 (groups with other figure studies); Benesch, 1947, p.21, under no.58 (compares various figure studies: Benesch 273, Louvre; Benesch 272, Berlin; Benesch 107, Munich; Benesch 263, Weimar; and Benesch 271, Berlin); Benesch, II, 1954/73, no.267, repr. fig.291/314 (c.1635; see n.3 above); Groningen, 1967, p.89, under no.55; Exh. Paris, Cabinet des dessins, 1988-9, under no.8; Schatborn, 1994, p.21 (perhaps by a pupil, such as Bol); Giltaij, 1995, p.96 (by a pupil; compares Bol's 'Joseph interpreting dreams', Hamburg).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir John Charles Robinson (according to Malcolm cat.) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Thomas Lawrence (L.2445) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection William Esdaile (L.2617) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); William Esdaile (L.2617; see cat. no.19; 1859,0806.72); his sale, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 17, bt Tiffin, 9s, with lot 16 (here cat. no.19); J.C.Robinson (according to 1st ed. of his Malcolm catalogue; see also under inscriptions); John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased with his collection, 1895.

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A6 (before 1636; compares cat. no.19; 1859,0806.72);
1938, no.18;
1992, no.9, repr. in colour (c.1633-5);
1996-7, Sept-Jan, BM, Malcolm Collection, Appx., ex.-catalogue.

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