The satyr and the peasant; the satyr standing by a chair, his family seated at r beside a traveller eating broth, a figure stirring a pot on the hearth at l and a cat seated in front Pen and brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1920,1116.12

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 627
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Eeckhout.7
Hind 1915-31 IV, p.140 (placed 11)

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 Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Adam Elsheimer (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Jacques Jordaens (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Nicolaes Maes (biographical details | all objects)
1653 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The satyr at the peasant's house; the satyr standing by a chair, family seated at right beside the traveller eating broth, a figure stirring a pot on the hearth at left and a cat seated in front. c.1653
Pen and brown ink; a ruled vertical line in brown ink, and another in grey ink.
Verso: laid down.
No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: No inscriptions visible.

Height: 101 millimetres (chain lines not visible)
Width: 154 millimetres

Poor, the surface greatly abraded, though the worst affected areas are in the blank background.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, cat. no.7:
The subject is from Aesop, 'Fables', 74:[1] a traveller was invited by a satyr to sup with his family; when the former blew on his cold hands to warm them, and then on his hot soup to cool it, the satyr ejected him, refusing to countenance a guest who blew both hot and cold.
This and the previous drawing are related to a painting by van den Eeckhout, dated 1653, formerly in the Oldenburg collection.[2] The painting reflects more closely a third drawing, now in Hamburg,[3] which was probably preceded by the two sketches in the British Museum. Of the latter, it seems probable that the present, outline drawing was executed later than the more finished sheet (no.6, 1920,1116.13), as the artist has eliminated the farmer standing behind the traveller and appears to indicate, with a vertical line, the exclusion of the child to the right. These revisions, together with the new position and gesture of the satyr, are repeated both in the Hamburg drawing and in the painting,[4] and may have been prompted by a change in the prospective format of the oil: both it and the Hamburg drawing are proportionately taller than the British Museum drawings.
Van den Eeckhout returned to the subject in a later, undated painting now in Stockholm, for which there is a preparatory drawing in the Lugt collection (Institut Néerlandais, Paris).[5] In all these works the artist was influenced by Jacob Jordaens' painting of the same subject in Kassel, of which van den Eeckhout made a drawn copy.[6]
The style of the present sheet is somewhat unusual for the artist, whose manner is usually less economical with the pen in a preliminary sketch of this type. Yet the relationship with his other works counters any doubts as to the autograph status of the drawing.

[1] The tale was known and widely read in medieval times through the fables by Avianus (around 400 A.D.) and his source, Valerius Babrius. It was later popularised by La Fontaine, 'Fables', V, 7.
[2] Later on the Berlin art market (Galerie Rosenthal) and sold in Brussels at F. Fiévez, 22-3 December, 1950, lot 245 (repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, 1983, p.779, no.416); canvas 560 x 650.
[3] Hamburg, Kunsthalle, inv.21919 (repr. Sumowski 625). It measures 190 x 258 (top corners cut).
[4] The erased child to the right survives in shadowy form in the Hamburg drawing.
[5] For the painting, see Sumowski, 'Gemälde', no.421, repr.; the drawing is repr. Sumowski 628 and in Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997, pp.128-9, no.56.
[6] See Sumowski 748x. The drawing, from the Heinemann collection in New York, was recently on the London art market (Christie's 1 July 1997, lot 210).

London, 1931, p.140 (closer to Elsheimer than Maes, though nearer Rembrandt school than no.6 [1920,1116.13]; compares drawing in Frankfurt given to Elsheimer by W. von Bode, 'Elsheimer', 1920, repr. p.80 [but now ascribed to Rembrandt school]); Drost, 1957, pp.124-5 (not Elsheimer); Sumowski, 1962, p.18, n.18 (by Eeckhout; compares Hamburg version, inv.21919 and 1653 painting [on which see above]); Möhle, 1966, pp.123-4, no.14, repr. pl.9 (early Elsheimer); van Gelder and Jost, 1967-8, p.31 (Rembrandt pupil, c.1650 or later; reminiscent of Eeckhout - compares drawing in Hamburg, inv.21919; Jordaens influence); Hugelshofer, 1968, p.89 (Elsheimer; Jordaens-like); Roy, 1972, pp.60-61 (Elsheimer); Hohl, 1973, pp.176, 180, and 201, n.38 (early Elsheimer); Andrews, 1977, p.167, no.A21 (van den Eeckhout); Sumowski, 1979, etc., III, 1980, no.627, repr.; Exh. Stockholm, 1992-3, p.241.

satyr (scope note | all objects)
peasant/villager (scope note | all objects)
classical mythology (scope note | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Capt Edward G Spencer-Churchill (Sotheby's, 2.xi.1920/189 as Rembrandt School bt Colnaghi for BM £22-1-0 with 1920,1116.13) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jonathan Richardson Junior (L.2170) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jonathan Richardson Senior (L.2183) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Joshua Reynolds (L.2364) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick (by descent to Spencer-Churchill) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Earl of Northwick (by descent to Edward Spencer-Churchill); Northwick sale, Sotheby's, 2nd day, 2 November, 1920, lot 189 (as Rembrandt School; with no.6, 1920,1116.13), bt Colnaghi's, £21; purchased from Colnaghi's, 1920 (as 'Nicolaes Maes?').

Exhibition History
Frankfurt-am-Main, 1966-7, no.125, repr. (as Elsheimer).

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