Head and shoulders of an unknown man; head turned and looking l, his hair close-cut, with small beard and moustache Red and black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1836,0811.341

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 11
Sumowski 1979 continuing 1589
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Lievens.J.2

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 Jan Lievens (biographical details | all objects)
1630 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)
British (all objects)

Study of a man's head and shoulders; head turned and looking left, his hair close-cut, with small beard and moustache. c.1630
Red and black chalks; framing lines in pen and black ink (top and left sides) and brown ink (lower and right sides).
Verso: some indecipherable off-set red chalk; see also Inscriptions.
Watermark: part of Strasburg Lily with '4WR' below.

Inscription Content: Initialled by the artist, lower left, in the red and black chalks used for the drawing: ‘IL’; inscribed verso in graphite, top left: ‘33 / 53’ and lower left: ‘£1.157’; lower left, in red ink: ‘N 2920’.

Height: 170 millimetres
Width: 135 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 28/30mm apart)

A rubbed patch in the cheek, and slightly rubbed in other parts, mainly in the background.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Jan Lievens, cat. no.2:
The style is consistent in style with cat. no.3 (1836,0811.347) and suggests that the drawing is from Lievens' Leiden period, perhaps c.1630. He painted a number of studies of heads (or 'tronies') at this time,[1] and the drawing has also been compared with a small etching, which shows a comparable figure, in reverse (although the hair and drapery differ considerably).[2] Presumably it was made from life, and it is the only signed drawing from Lievens' Leiden years.[3]

[1] See Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, nos.1249ff. Many show elderly men; in the example in Leipzig (Museum der bildenden Künste), the pose of the head is similar (op. cit., no.1279, repr., where dated c.1635, perhaps too late).
[2] Hollstein, XI, p.57, no.70, as noticed by Schneider, 1932 (see Lit. below).
[3] See Exh. Washington-Milwaukee-Amsterdam, 2008-9, no.99.

London, 1915, p.86, no.11, repr. pl.LIV; Van Dyke, 1927, p.104; Schneider, 1932/73 [1973, p.363], no.Z.88 (for print [Holl.70], in reverse); Bauch, 1939, p.252, n.14 (Leiden period); Hollstein, XI, p.57, under no.70; Sumowski, 1979 etc., VII, 1983, no.1589, repr. (as Bauch; not related to etching Holl.70); Exh. Washington-Milwaukee-Amsterdam, 2008-9, no.99, repr. (c.1630-31; see n.3 above); Martin Royalon-Kisch, 'Drawings by Rembrandt and his Pupils', Burlington Magazine 153 (2011), p.99, fig.26.

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from William Smith, the printseller (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Sheepshanks (L.2333) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Valerius Röver (L.2984; Portfolio 33, no 53: ‘Mans Pourtrait bij na in profil met root en swart krijt van Jan Lievense.’);* his widow, C. van Dussen, who sold his drawings to the dealer H. de Leth; J. Goll van Franckenstein (L.2987) and descendants; his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries, Brondgeest, Ehgelberts and Roos, 1 July etc., 1833, kunstboek P, no.14, bt Buffa, f.20-25s; John Sheepshanks (L.2333); purchased with his collection through Messrs William Smith, 1836. * See cat. no.31(1848,0911.138). Röver's numbers are here in graphite. They are usually in pen and brown ink and in this case may have been transcribed at a later date, perhaps from an old backing.

Exhibition History
1858, 1859, 1860, London, no.118;
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue)
2008/9 Oct-Jan, Washington, NG of Art, Jan Lievens (1607-1674), no.99
2009 May-Aug, Amsterdam, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Jan Lievens (1607-1674), no.99

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