Mother and Child; almost HL, the woman feeding her baby, looking down Red and black chalk, with brown wash, touched with bodycolour Verso: Head of a child and a figure group Brush drawing in brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • VersoVerso
  • Full: FrontFull: Front
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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1860,0616.88

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 1779
Hind 1915-31 4
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Maes.4

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 Nicolaes Maes (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Mother and Child; almost half-length, the woman feeding her baby, looking down. c.1655
Red chalk (partly rubbed with the finger), pen and brown ink and brown and grey wash, heightened with white; ruled framing-lines in pen and brown ink.
Verso: slight sketch of a head and another of a group of two figures, perhaps with a child, in brush and brown ink and wash
No watermark

Inscription Content: Inscribed lower right, in pen and brown ink: ‘Rembrandt’; on verso, in graphite, upper left: ‘46 [in a circle]’.

Height: 158 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 23mm apart)
Width: 122 millimetres

Good, though whites have oxidised.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Nicolaes Maes, cat. no.4:
The drawing is a preliminary sketch for the mother in a painting known from photographs only, in two versions. Both show the mother and child in an interior in the same pose as in the drawing (although with her right hand hidden behind the child's arm, which is raised higher). What was probably the original painting, formerly on the Berlin art market,[1] bore the remains of a signature, while the second version, formerly in the Lanz collection in Mannheim, which may be a copy (and which has the figure of a kneeling maid and a basket added on the left), bore what purported to be Maes' signature with the date 1655.[2] There is no reason to doubt that the Lanz version, and the drawing, were made at this time.
The rudimentary sketches on the verso seem to be autograph, an assessment supported by the medium, which is identical to that employed in some passages on the recto.

1. With Kappel, Berlin (Valentiner, 1924, p.49, repr. pl.24). The connection between the drawing and the painting was first made by Gustav Falck in 1920 (note in Museum files).
2. See Valentiner, 1924, pp.45 and 49, repr. pl.23; Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, p.2015, no.1345, repr.; Robinson, 1989 (1990), p.151, suggested that the Mannheim version was a copy.

LITERATURE (always as Maes unless otherwise stated):
Vosmaer, 1877, p.602 (Rembrandt – 'très beau'); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.86 (Rembrandt); Michel, 1893, p.582 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, p.91, repr. pl.LIX (Maes, as apparently suggested by Bredius); Valentiner, 1924, p.49, repr. p.33, fig.37 (study for paintings in Lanz, Mannheim [Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, no.1345, repr.] and with the art dealer Kappel, Berlin); Van Dyke, 1927, p.112 (not Maes); Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-8, p.98, under no.67 (comparing various other sheets by Maes); Sumowski, 1979 etc., VIII, 1984, p.4004, no.1779, repr.; Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, p.2015, under no.1345; Robinson, 1989 (1990), p.151, repr. fig.19 (for 1655 for ex. Kappel painting; the ex-Lanz version probably a copy).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased through Christie's (Woodburn's sale, 7.vi.1860/776 as 'Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - A female suckling a child - In colours. Ver) (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased through A E Evans & Sons (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from Samuel Woodburn (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Thomas Lawrence (L.2445) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Count Moritz Christian Johann von Fries (L.2903) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Moritz von Fries (L.2903); Thomas Lawrence (L.2445), acquired via W. Mellish (according to Lugt); S. Woodburn; Lawrence-Woodburn sale, London, Christie's, 4th day, 7 June, 1860, lot 776.

Exhibition History
London, 1956, p.32, no.1;
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue).

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