Portrait of Petrus Scriverius; HL turned slightly to r, wearing broad-brimmed hat, falling collar and mantle, his r hand held before him, behind are slight indications of a column and church window, drapery nearer the r foreground. 1637 [or 1631?] Charcoal and black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1836,0811.339

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 9
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Lievens.J.28

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Formerly attributed to Jan Lievens (biographical details | all objects)
After Jan Lievens (biographical details | all objects)
1750 (perhaps c.1750, or later)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)
British (all objects)

Portrait of Petrus Scriverius; half-length turned slightly to right, wearing broad-brimmed hat, falling collar and mantle, his right hand held before him, behind are slight indications of a column and church window, drapery nearer the right foreground. c.1750 or later

Yellow-brown and black chalks; framing lines in pen and dark grey ink.

Verso: laid down.

Watermark: countermark ‘JV [?]’.

Inscription Content: Inscribed lower left, in black chalk: ‘IL / 1651 [the last two digits unclear]’; upper right, in pen and brown ink: ‘30’; inscribed verso, top left, in graphite: ‘a191’; lower left: ‘BG / J/C2- / Livens’; and lower centre: ‘Livens 10/6’.

Height: 224 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 25/26mm apart)
Width: 208 millimetres

Good; a small brown stain at top, right of centre.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, after Jan Lievens, cat. no.28:

Petrus Scriverius (Pieter Hendricksz. Schrijver, 1576-1660) was a celebrated Dutch Remonstrant scholar, author, historian and humanist from Leiden, and a friend of Daniel Heinsius, whom he met as a student at Leiden University. He lost his sight in 1650 and died at his son's house in Oudewater.
The drawing is an eighteenth-century copy, probably based on the print by Jacobus Houbraken (1698-1780).[1] The print was in turn based on that, in reverse, by Cornelis Visscher, made in 1649 after a painting by Pieter Soutman.[2] An inscription on Visscher's print states that the sitter was depicted at the age of 73. Both prints depict a plain background and show the sitter's hand opening a book, and it could be that the present drawing depends on a now lost original sketch by Lievens.
The florid script of the countermark in the paper also suggests an eighteenth-century origin; yet because the drawing is executed somewhat in Lievens' own manner, it could be a more recent imitation. No drawn portrait by Lievens of Scriverius seems to have been recorded in old sale catalogues[3] and none of the inscriptions on the verso appear to be earlier than the nineteenth century. The signature, with a date that bears no relation to that of Visscher's print, is highly suspect, and the colour of the chalk is unusual.

[1] Ver Huell, 1875, p.71, no.381.
[2] Hollstein, XL, p.142, no.137, repr. The painting by Soutman is in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, inv.268a.
[3] For a list of drawings by Lievens now missing but recorded earlier, see Sumowski, VII, 1983, pp.3906-3933.

London, 1915, p.86, no.9, repr. pl. LIII (by Lievens; resembles in reverse C. Visscher's engraving after P. Soutman's painting dated 1649); Hirschmann, 1918, p.24 (not Lievens; perhaps by Soutman); Van Dyke, 1927, p.104 (by Lievens, of Scriverius; probably before 1631); Schneider, 1932, no.Z.XXVII (copy after Lievens after Houbraken's print, which in turn based on that by Visscher after Soutman; date and monogram apocryphal); Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.193 (by Lievens, 1631 or 1637; unusual combination of Rembrandtesque and Van Dyckian modes).

Associated names
Portrait of Petrus Scriverius (biographical details | all objects)

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)

Exhibition History
No exhibitions recorded.

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