Portrait study of an unknown woman seated; HL, slightly to l, looking to front, her hands clasped on her lap, wearing a necklace and large falling collar Black chalk Verso: Light sketch of a woman, HL Black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • VersoVerso

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1912,1214.15

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 2
Sumowski 1979 continuing 542x
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Dou.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 Gerard Dou (biographical details | all objects)
1648 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A seated woman; portrait study of an unknown woman, half-length, slightly to left, looking to front, her hands clasped on her lap, wearing a necklace and large falling collar. c.1648
Black chalk; framing line in pen and brown ink.
Verso: slight sketch of a seated woman, turned to right, perhaps a lace-maker
No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed lower left, in pen and black ink: ‘G. Douw.’; verso, lower left (visible only through backing): ‘16’.

Height: 135 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 26 mm apart)
Width: 101 millimetres

Good; slight brown stains at top left and lower right corners.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, attributed to Gerrit Dou, cat. no.2:
While the securely attributed oeuvre of Dou contains no closely comparable works, the traditional attribution merits serious consideration. The at times abruptly angular delineation of the drapery has some echoes in the handling of the chalk in Dou's portrait of 'Marijtje Jansdr. van Rozenburg (the Artist's Mother)' in the Louvre, which is signed and dated 1638.[1] There are also analogies with a drawing of 'Figures by a Doorway', now in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, which is signed and dated 1648.[2] It is perhaps to this later period that the present drawing belongs, although the authenticity of these drawings has been doubted, and no related painting by Dou is known.[3]

[1] Louvre inv. no.22579 (repr. Sumowski 528).
[2] Inv. no.779, from the collection of Ploos van Amstel. Listed by Martin, 1901, p.245, no.377. Another comparable drawing of a 'Seated Girl', executed in black chalk on vellum, is in Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland (D.1698; described, wrongly in my view, as an eighteenth-century imitation by Sumowski, p.1170. The drawing is repr. Edinburgh, 1985, p.23, and vol.II, fig.150).
[3] Sumowski (see Lit. below) sees a relationship with the model in a painting repr. Martin, 1913, p.55, which was then in the Angus collection in Montreal, but the resemblance is superficial and the authenticity of the painting impossible to determine on the basis of the reproduction.

'Original Drawings by Old Masters of the Dutch School in the Collection of J.P.H[eseltine]', 1910, no.6; 'Report of the National Art-Collections Fund', 1912; London, 1915, pp.74-5, no.2, repr. pl.XXXIX; Sumowski, 1979 etc., III, 1980, no.542xx, repr. (probably Dou; relates to painting in Angus Collection, Montreal - see n.3 above).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Donated by Henry Van den Bergh (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jacob de Vos Jacobsz. (Amsterdam, Roos et al., 22.v.1883/134 as 'Gérard Dou - Portrait de femme - Joli croquis à la pierre) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Postle Heseltine (L.1507) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jacob de Vos (Amsterdam, De Vries et al., 30.x.1833/Kunstboek CC no.2, bt De Vries for fl.40) (biographical details | all objects)
Donated through The Art Fund (as NACF) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Jacob de Vos; his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries, Brondgeest, Engelberts and Roos, 30 October 1833, p.71, Kunstboek CC, no.2, bt De Vries (for Jacob de Vos), f.40; Jacob de Vos Jacobsz.; his sale, Amsterdam, Roos (et al.), 22ff. May 1883, lot 134, bt Thibaudeau for f.60; J.P. Heseltine (L.1507); Henry van den Bergh, by whom presented, through the National Art Collections Fund, 1912.

Exhibition History
London, 1914, no.30;
London, 1933, no.95;
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, not in catalogue

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