View of a town on a canal; a large open canal in the foreground, a smaller canal with a bridge perpendicular to it, domestic houses to l and wharves and warehouses to r Pen and brown ink, with brown wash and watercolour, over black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1860,0616.131

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 279x (Bol)
Hind 1915-31 5 (as Flinck)
Hind 1923 Add.5 (as Bol)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Bol.6

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 Ferdinand Bol (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Govert Flinck (biographical details | all objects)
1631-1680 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The St Anthoniessluis, Amsterdam; view of a town on a canal, a large open canal in the foreground, a smaller canal with a bridge perpendicular to it, domestic houses to left and wharves and warehouses to right.
Pen and brown ink with brown, grey and coloured wash (green and burgundy red), over black chalk; scraped out highlights below the bridge; framing lines in pen and brown ink.
Verso: see Inscriptions.
No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, in graphite, top centre: '24' [in a circle] and centre: '/u/'.

Height: 158 millimetres
Width: 255 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 27/28mm apart)

Slight discolouration and staining; a few nicks, and rubbed on creased spots; horizontal fold 1/3 from top.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Ferdinand Bol, cat. no.6:

The drawing shows in the centre the lock, the St Anthoniessluis, with the wide stretch of water at the Zwanenburgwal, the drawbridge on the right being above the Houtgracht (now the Waterlooplein).[1] The area was built up in the late sixteenth century.[2]
A number of landscape drawings have been associated with the present work on grounds of style, and the following appear to be by the same hand: two town views in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem (inv.nos.O*53 and Q.58)[3]; the 'Landscape with a domed Building' in Munich (inv.no.21171, Sumowski 278x);[4] the 'Departure of Rebecca', recently on the art market (Sumowski 130x);[5] the 'View of Dordrecht', often given to Rembrandt, at Chantilly (Benesch 802);[6] and a drawing of a 'River by a Wood' in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (inv.I, 176).[7]
There are several reasons for associating these drawings with Bol: (1.) The pictorial, finished technique and the character of the penwork resembles that of two drawings that can be given to Bol with confidence: the 'Liberation of St Peter' (whereabouts now unknown)[8] and the 'Holy Family' (cat. no.3, 1836,0811.337); (2.) The character of the black chalk sketch on the verso of the Munich drawing is close to the underdrawing in the same medium of the 'Liberation of St Peter' (already mentioned);[9] and there are also parallels with the underdrawing on the recto of the Munich drawing, especially in the upper part of the central trees, with the chalk 'Landscape' by Bol in Frankfurt (Sumowski 280).[10] (3.) The foliage displays considerable parallels with that in the background of Bol's paintings; the relationship between the right half of the Munich drawing and the painting of the 'Three Maries at the Tomb' in Copenhagen of 1644,[11] which includes part of a similar domed building, is also close (further similarities exist with the landscape backgrounds of other paintings by Bol). It is also worth remarking, in the context of the Chantilly drawing, that it represents his native town of Dordrecht.
On the basis of these comparisons, the drawing is likely to be an early work of around 1642-4, before Bol had formulated the broader style of landscape drawing that he employed towards the end of the decade.[12]

[1] Lugt 1920 (see Lit. below).
[2] Alings, 1967 (see Lit. below).
[3] First associated with the present work by Byam Shaw, 1933-4 (see Lit. below). The Munich drawing has a figurative composition study in black chalk on the verso, repr Sumowski 152x; and a similar domed structure appears on a chalk and wash landscape in Berlin that resembles Bol's drawings of this type (inv.13743; Berlin, 1930, p.245 as 'Rembrandt?'). Plomp considers the Haarlem drawings to be by different hands (in Haarlem, 1997, nos.64 [as Bol?] and 334 [as School of Rembrandt]). The details of foliage, the similar perspectival inaccuracies, and the technique seem, rather, to unite them; and the comparison between the foliage and the treatment of the water in his no.334 and these elements in the present sheet and that in New York mentioned below is close. Sumowski, 1979 etc., IV, 1981, p.1880, nos.21-2, follows Lugt in describing them as Rembrandt imitations, both by the same hand.
[4] Associated with the present sheet by Lugt in Paris, 1933 (see Lit. below).
[5] Seen by the compiler with Arnoldi-Livie of Munich at the Maastricht fair, 1994. It was associated with Bol by Sumowski, no.130x.
[6] Musée Condé, Chantilly, inv.344bisH (Hd.I.16). As long ago as 1977, George Keyes, in a note on the mount, suggested that the drawing might be by Bol.
[7] As Rembrandt school; recognised as by the same hand as the British Museum and Munich drawings by the compiler in 1986 (see also Royalton-Kisch, 1991, in Lit. below).
[8] Sumowski 87, related to his painting of the early 1640s in a private collection. The drawing was at Christie's in London, 26 March, 1974, lot 87, repr. The Munich drawing, with its passages of close hatching with the pen is especially comparable.
[9] In composition it is not wholly unrelated to Bol's painting of 'Joseph presenting his Father to Pharaoh' in Dresden (Blankert, 1982, no.8, repr. pl.14; Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, no.87, repr. p.326).
[10] Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Franfurt, inv.3811 (repr. Sumowski 280x).
[11] Repr. Blankert, 1982, no.17, pl.4, and Sumowski, 'Gemälde', no.83, p.322.
[12] See Royalton-Kisch, 1992.

Vosmaer, 1877, p.612 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, p.78, no.5, repr. pl.XLIV (attributes to Flinck on basis of Flinck no.4, 1912,1214.13; Hofstede de Groot believed a drawing in Rotterdam [unspecified - perhaps 'of' Rotterdam - see under Paris, 1933 below] to be by the same hand); Lugt, 1920, pp.11 and 36, repr. fig.22a (identifies locality represented and other drawings of it; suggests Feitama provenance); Secker, 1920, pp.40-42, repr. fig.6 (Flinck; topography); Paris, 1933, p.67, under no.1340 (Flinck?; compares Paris drawing, Musée des arts décoratifs, Benesch 790, and another in Gdansk, Benesch 791, both of Amsterdam; two others by same hand, of Rotterdam, in Dresden and Mathey collection [Hofstede de Groot 1074]; two further drawings in Weimar, Benesch 470, and Munich inv.21171; also comparable are 'English' views [Benesch 785-8] attrib. to Rembrandt); Byam Shaw, 1933-4, p.44, n.1 (doubtful as Flinck; same hand as Teylers D.53 and D.58; also Munich 21171 and a sheet sold Amsterdam, Muller, July 1926, lot 459; also Louvre 'Landscape with Windmill', inv.22894A); Valentiner, 1934, p.XXIII (probably by van Hoogstraten); Amsterdam, 1943, p.37, under no.72; Benesch, IV, 1955/73, under no.790 (rejects Paris, 1933 comparisons with drawings Benesch gives to Rembrandt); Rosenberg, 1959, p.114; von Moltke, 1965, no.227, repr. and p.274 (not Flinck; nonetheless compares Munich inv.21171, accepted as by Flinck); Alings, 1967, repr. p.52 (Flinck; topography of the area); Munich, 1973, p.83, under no.568 (Flinck, 1642); Exh. New York-Paris, 1977-8, p.59, under no.39, n.5 (not Flinck); Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, 1979, no.279x, repr. (Bol, as also Munich 21171 [repr. Sumowski 278x]); Broos, 1984, p.186, n.130 (no reason to attribute to Bol; perhaps by Doomer, as in drawing in in St Petersburg, inv.14949 [repr. Sumowski 396]); Broos, 1985, p.22 (as in 1984); Royalton-Kisch, 1991, p.12, repr. pl.III in colour (Bol?; 1640s; cf. New York, Pierpont Morgan Library inv. no.I.176; discussed in context of watercolours of Rembrandt circle); Haarlem, 1997, p.87, under no.64 (Bol?); Royalton-Kisch, 2003,pp.149-50, repr. fig.2.

canal scene (all objects)

Associated places
Topographic representation of Amsterdam (St Anthoniesluis in Amsterdam; please see Curator's Comment for more information.) (all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased through Walter Benjamin Tiffin (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased through Christie's (14.vi.1860/1532 as Rembrandt 'VIEW OF A CANAL IN HOLLAND - broad pen and bistre, slightly tinted. Ve) (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from Samuel Woodburn (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Sybrand Feitama; his sale, 16 October, 1758, p.52, under no.58 (as Rembrandt); Samuel Woodburn; his sale, Christie's 14 June, 1860, lot 1532.

Exhibition History
1956, London, British Museum, p.28, no.6 (Flinck);
1977, Amsterdam-Toronto, no.64, repr. (Flinck);
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue, as attributed to Bol).

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