drawing

Flora bedecked with flowers, after Rembrandt; TQL standing to front, wearing a dress with long sleeves and a veil on the back of her head, flowers in her l hand and her r hand on a staff, foliage behind Brush drawing in grey wash, with some pen and brown ink

AN203393001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,10.133

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 127x
Hind 1915-31 139 (as School of Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Bol.1
Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings 1982-2005 III.A.112 (copy 1)

Location:
Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

Materials
paper (all objects)
Techniques
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Formerly attributed to Anonymous (all objects)
Drawn by Ferdinand Bol (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Philips Koninck (biographical details | all objects)
After Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
Date
1635-1640
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)


Description
Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume; three-quarter length, standing to front, holding a wreath of flowers and a staff, wearing a dress with long sleeves and a veil on the back of her head, foliage behind; after Rembrandt's 'Saskia as Flora'. c.1635-1640
Drawn with the brush in shades of grey, touched with the pen in grey and brown ink, on paper washed pale brown.
Verso: see Inscriptions.
Watermark: Basel staff in crowned shield with 'FHM' below, similar to Tschudin 226 (1637) and Laurentius p.129, no.,282 (1636). See also Bol cat. no.2 (Oo,10.132).

Inscriptions
Inscription Content: Inscribed on verso, below, in pen and brown ink in an early hand: '4/ [?] Renbrant'; the register number in pen and black ink.


Dimensions
Height: 218 millimetres ((chain lines vertical, 24/26mm apart))
Width: 172 millimetres


Condition
Good; a small patch in the nearer sleeve; minor nicks at corners.

Curator's comments
After the 1635 painting by Rembrandt in the National Gallery, London, inv.no.NG4930 (Bredius 103).

Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Ferdinand Bol, cat. no.1:

A copy after Rembrandt's painting of c.1635 now in the National Gallery.[1] The painting appears to represent the artist's wife, Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-41), in the guise of a shepherdess or as Flora, Goddess of Spring and of Flowers. There was a tradition in seventeenth-century Holland for portraits in idealised pastoral costume.[2] The drawing omits the flowers in the lower right corner of the composition, but is otherwise a generally faithful copy. It shows the full extent of the picture, which has since been cut slightly at the top and right edges, and very slightly at the left.
The drawing seems to be by the same hand as cat. no.2 (Oo,10.132), which has a similar watermark of the mid-1630s and is based on a painting by Rembrandt of 1636. The attribution to Bol depends on the similarity of the two drawings to a third sheet of the same type, now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which is inscribed with Bol's name in an old hand and copies Rembrandt's painting of 'Minerva', now on the New York art market (Bredius 469, Corpus A114).[3] The style of these drawings has some affinities, in pictorial finish, with Bol's study for the 'Liberation of St Peter',[4] a signed painting now in a private collection, especially in the treatment of the background, and the evidence of the watermark on the present sheet suggests that it was made earlier, during Bol's years in Rembrandt's studio (c.1635-40). The manner in which the penwork in brown ink (readable only in the original) is added to a rather elaborated composition also has affinities with cat. no.3 (1836,0811.337). In addition, Bol was associated with this or a related type of work by Rembrandt in an inscription on the verso of a drawing now in Berlin (Benesch 448), which mentions copies of an 'Abraham', a 'floora' and perhaps also a 'Standard-Bearer' by 'fardynand' - presumably Bol, although the reference is assumed to be to painted rather than drawn copies.[5]
Other drawn copies in a comparable style after paintings by Rembrandt are known, although the hand may not be the same.[6] The making of such copies may have formed part of the training of Rembrandt's pupils, so that they learnt from the master's style as well as creating their own stock of motifs and compositions for future inspiration, but they may also have been made as independent works for sale.[7]
Bol himself produced a painted 'Portrait of Rembrandt and Saskia in a Landscape' (collection of Lord Somleyton) in which the figure of Rembrandt's wife is based on this composition.[8]

NOTES:
[1] Bredius 103, Corpus A112 (as a characteristic work of 1635).
[2] For a summary, and a discussion of the oil, see London, 1991, pp.353-8 and Exh. London, 2006[1], no.6.
[3] Inv. no.1975:85, Sumowski 126x.
[4] Sumowski 87, formerly London art market; the painting is repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, no.78.
[5] The inscription is fragmentary, but reads: 'verkoft syn vaendrager synt 15-/ een floora verhandelt 6-' and below: 'fardynandus van sijn werck verhandelt/ aen n ander werck van syn voorneemen/ den Abraeham een floora/ Leenderts floora is verhandelt tegen 5g' ('sold his standard bearer being 15-, a flora traded 6- ferdinand of his work traded with another work of his execution the Abraham and flora, Leendert's flora traded for 5g[uilders]'). The drawing is Rembrandt's copy after Lastman's 'Susannah and the Elders'. 'Leendert' presumably refers to Leendert van Beyeren, who was Rembrandt's pupil in the period around 1635-40 (see Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, p.280 on this artist). Painted copies of the National Gallery picture are repr. by Corpus, III, 1989, pp.158-9 (formerly in the Ellice collection, Bode 187) and in London, 1991, I, fig.84 (Kisters collection, Kreuzlingen).
[6] See the 'Portrait of Rembrandt' and the 'Portrait of a Woman' in the Teyler Museum (inv. Ox64 and Ox65) repr. Schatborn, 1981, p.40, figs 25-6. These are traditionally given to Dirck Dircksz. Santvoort. There is also the copy in Washington after Rembrandt's 'Self-Portrait' of 1640 in the National Gallery (the drawing is given to Bol among others by Sumowski, no.142x, repr.). Also comparable in technique is the drawing in Budapest after Rembrandt's painting of 'Susannah and the Elders' in Berlin (inv. no.1737, repr. Sumowski 823x as by Barent Fabritius).
[7] See Franken, 1997.
[8] Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, no.149, repr., pointed out the relationship.

LITERATURE :

London, 1915, p.49, no.139 (anon. school of Rembrandt, after the painting; possibly by the pupil responsible for the copy then in Ellice collection, Invergarry, Bode 187); Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, p.23 (by Doomer after Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1979 etc., I, no.127x, repr. (by Bol, who later used the figure in his painting of 'Rembrandt and Saskia in a Landscape' [see above]); Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, p.17, repr. p.52; Bruyn, 1984, p.160, n.20 (superior to Rijksmuseum 'Minerva', 1975:85, Sumowski 126x, and therefore not by Bol); Corpus, III, 1989, pp.10, 14 repr. fig.1, 15, 155-7, repr. fig.6 (not a companion to cat. no.2 (Oo,10.132); by same hand as Amsterdam 'Minerva', but later; a generally reliable copy, it shows original size of the related painting, but omits the plant at lower right; connects with Rembrandt's note on verso of Berlin drawing, Benesch 448; attribution uncertain); London, 1991, p.354; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2, p.75, repr. in colour fig.87, and p.190, fig.23c (attribution of this group of drawings, which were probably made for sale, uncertain and perhaps more than one hand involved; Rembrandt's notes include mention of a 'floora' and a standard-bearer; otherwise as Corpus, 1989); Dudok van Heel, 1993, p.17, repr. p.18, fig.3 (the painting not a commission but remained in the studio to be copied); Bruyn, 1996, p.172, n.7; Exh. London, 2006[1], p.90, under no.6; Sluijter, 2006, p.256, repr. fig.225 (Bol; part of pupil's training).


Subject
allegory/personification (scope note | all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Saskia van Uylenburgh (biographical details | all objects)


Acquisition date
1824

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
In the 1845 Register as by 'De Koning'. It was transferred to Bol's name in 1964 (note in copy of London, 1915 in the British Museum).


Exhibition History
1988-9 Oct-Jan, National Gallery, 'Art in the Making: Rembrandt', p.60;
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, not in catalogue.


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