Portrait of Jan de Heem; HL seated to l, looking to front, with mid-length curly hair, wearing falling collar and mantle Black chalk, touched with bodycolour, indented for transfer


© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: FrontFull: Front

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1199

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 1652x
Hind 1915-31 3
JCR 731
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Lievens.J.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 Jan Lievens (biographical details | all objects)
1636 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)
British (all objects)

Portrait of Jan Davidsz. de Heem; half-length seated to left, looking to front, with mid-length curly hair, wearing falling collar and mantle. c.1636

Black chalk, touched with grey-brown bodycolour; the outlines indented with a stylus for transfer; ruled pen and brown ink framing lines down right side only.

Verso: see Inscriptions.

Watermark: small crowned countermark with letters, probably 'ISB'.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, lower centre, in pen and brown ink: ‘J.L. Guillio de Heem ['Guillio' crossed out and replaced in graphite with Joannes]’; top left, in graphite: ‘731’; and lower right: ‘16/ 1 Short [?]’; lower left: ‘4 [?]’.

Height: 265 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 24?mm apart)
Width: 201 millimetres

Generally good, but a little worn, creased and some foxing; a repaired tear near top left corner.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Jan Lievens, cat. no.4:

The sitter, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, the distinguished painter of still-life, was born in 1605 or 1606 in Utrecht, the son of a musician. In 1625 his family moved to Leiden, where he married in 1626. From the mid-1630s he was based in Antwerp, where he died in 1683/4, apart from an undetermined period or periods back in Utrecht, between 1658 and 1672 (perhaps from 1667-72), when he returned to Antwerp. His earliest works exhibit some influence from Rembrandt and Jan Lievens.
The drawing was made to prepare an engraving, in reverse, by Paulus Pontius, and the outlines have been indented to transfer the design to the copper plate.[1] The print was published in Antwerp by Martinus van den Enden, and is lettered 'Joannes Lijvijus pinxit'. No related painting by Lievens is otherwise recorded, and the 'pinxit' could refer to Lievens as the author of this drawing, rather than of an oil.
The drawing was probably made when both artists were in Antwerp, perhaps in the mid or later 1630s, when the sitter would have been entering his early thirties.[2] Lievens made a considerable number of such portrait drawings in black chalk, and it may be that he was planning to produce a series of engravings along the lines of Van Dyck's 'Iconography'.

[1] Hollstein XVII, p.177, no.85, repr. (also listed in vol.XI, p.80, no.34). An impression in the British Museum is inv. no.S.6201.
[2] Dickey, 2001, p.298 suggests a date c.1636, stating that De Heem went to Antwerp in 1635.

Robinson, 1869/76, no.715/731 (related to Pontius' print); London, 1915, p.84, no.3, repr. pl.LI; Schneider, 1926-7, pp.270-72, repr. (c.1636/7; compares sitter's portrait by Brouwer in painting 'The Smokers', now in Metropolitan Museum, New York); Van Dyke, 1927, p.104 ('later manner'); Henkel, 1931, p.90; Schneider, 1932/73, p.196, no.Z.57 [1973 ed. also p.361] (notes early provenance); Hollstein, XI, p.80, under no.34; van Hall, 1963, no.860/6; Sumowski, 1979 etc., VII, 1983, no.1652x (c.1635/43); Meijer, 1988, p.29, repr. fig.1; Dickey, 2001, p.298, repr. p.295, fig.11 (see n.2 above); de Clippel, 2003, pp.198-9, repr. fig.3 (concerning date of Brouwer's painting, previously discussed by Schneider, 1926-7).

Associated names
Portrait of Jan Davidsz. de Heem (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
M. Feitama sale, Amsterdam, Posthumus, Voorhoeve, et al., 2 April, 1794, Kunstboek A, no.36, bt Fouquet, f.19; John Malcolm of Poltalloch; purchased from his heirs with his collection, 1895.

Exhibition History
London, Grosvenor Gallery, 1878-9, no.234;
London, 1895, no.401.

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