Prized Possessions: Dutch Masterpieces from National Trust Houses, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2, until 16th September 2018

A Magus at a Table by Jan Lievens (Leyden 1607 ¿ Amsterdam 1674)

A Magus at a Table, Jan Lievens, 1631-2 © National Trust Images – Angelo Hornak

What a glorious summer but regrettably mine was less so as for the last 8 + weeks have been lost to a persistent, debilitating infection which has taken ever stronger courses of antibiotics to overcome – so fingers crossed victory is in sight.  It has meant that I am very behind in my writing. I should perhaps remember to ‘take the waters’ when next visiting Bath!

ST KATHERINE'S CHURCH, UTRECHT by Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665), at Upton House, Warwickshire

St Catherine’s Church Utrecht, Pieter Jansz Saenredam, 1636 © National Trust Images

I have visited six of the dozen houses from which this delicious selection of Dutch paintings has been garnered but sadly, so far, not the rest of them. Seeing those pictures that I know again was very much a journey into the past because in some cases it is almost fifty years since I first saw them and yet their beauty and the skill of the artist’s use of paint – for example Ter Borch’s exquisite rendering of a dress (Polesden Lacey) or Cuyp’s Dordrecht sky (Ascott) – has kept them fresh in my mind’s eye.

SELF PORTRAIT WEARING A WHITE FEATHERED BONNET by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Self-Portrait Wearing a White Feathered Bonnet, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1635 © National Trust Images – Chris Titmus

Portraits (people and houses), landscapes, genre scenes, interiors and still-lifes are among the subjects that make up the works on view. In some cases artists collaborated such as in the landscape from Petworth where the painter Hobbema has worked with Adriaen van de Velde who contributed the figural elements to the composition.

The Duet ('Le corset bleu') by Gabriel Metsu (Leyden 1629 ¿ Amsterdam 1669)

The Duet, Gabriel Metsu, 1660-7 © National Trust Images – Christopher Hurst

It is a wonderful journey back into the Dutch 17th century and it makes it easy to understand why ever since they were first painted such works have been so avidly collected and admired, including by  Sir Thomas William Holburne, founder of the Museum.

 

After the Holburne the exhibition will move on to the Mauritshuis in The Hague in October 2018, and then come to Petworth House in West Sussex in January 2019.

 

 

www.holburne.org

A Dutch Master

Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road,
London SE21,
until 15th January 2017 

Adriaen van de Velde, Figures on the beach at Scheveningen, 1660, Oil on canvas, 38.2 x 50cm, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Adriaen van de Velde,
Figures on the beach at Scheveningen, 1660,
Oil on canvas, 38.2 x 50cm,
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

This is a very special exhibition arranged in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Adriaen van de Velde (1636 – 1672) was the son of the celebrated marine painter Willem van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693) and brother of the equally famous marine painter Willem van de Velde the Younger (1663-1707). Adriaen however is regarded as one of the best landscape artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

Adriaen van de Velde, Herdsman and herdswoman with livestock by a stream, Pen in brown and black grey wash, 17.7 x 17.7 cm, Teylers Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Adriaen van de Velde,
Herdsman and herdswoman with livestock by a stream,
Pen in brown and black grey wash, 17.7 x 17.7 cm,
Teylers Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Although his career lasted less than two decades his works were eagerly sought after by collectors of Dutch 17th century painting in both the 18th and 19th century. From the opening gallery onward one can see how good a painter he was and as we progress through the exhibition we see both finished works and preparatory drawings, with the latter revealing the artist’s working method.

He was so good at painting figures that fellow landscape artists, including Jacob van Ruisdael, Meindert Hobbema and Jan van der Heyden asked him to paint the figures in some of their works.

Adriaen van de Velde, The Hut, 1671, Oil on canvas, 76 x 65 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Adriaen van de Velde,
The Hut, 1671,
Oil on canvas, 76 x 65 cm,
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

It is a delight of an exhibition and as its curator Bart Cornelis commented: This exhibition provides an opportunity for the public to get to know the work of one of those exceptionally gifted and refined artists of the Dutch Golden Age who has more recently slipped through the net of history but who deserves to be rediscovered as the great painter and draughtsman that he is. What’s more, his drawings provide a fascinating opportunity to see a seventeenth-century Dutch artist at work: we can, as it were, look over his shoulder to see how he composed his landscapes.

Adriaen van de Velde, Two studies of a reclining shepherd, 1666-1671, red chalk over a sketch in black chalk, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt

Adriaen van de Velde,
Two studies of a reclining shepherd, 1666-1671,
red chalk over a sketch in black chalk,
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/

The Queen’s Gallery

Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 14th February 2016

Jan Steen, 'A Woman at her Toilet', 1663 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Jan Steen, ‘A Woman at her Toilet’, 1663
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

This is a really engaging exhibition that reveals interest in Dutch painting by various monarchs since the reign of Charles I. He was the recipient of a gift of Rembrandt’s painting An Old Woman, called ‘The Artist’s Mother’ in 1629 and also had paintings by Dutch artists in his legendary art collection.

Johannes Vermeer, 'Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman or 'The Music Lesson'', 1662-5 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Johannes Vermeer, ‘Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman or ‘The Music Lesson”, 1662-5
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Vermeer’s ‘The Music Lesson’ was a part of Consul Smith’s collection which George III purchased in 1762.  His son George IV was an avid collector of Dutch art and many of the works on show were acquired by him.  In some ways he was following in the tradition of some of the 18th century French collectors such as the duc de Choiseul and one can certainly agree that French furniture of that period sits well with 17th century Dutch works.  There is also a small display of Sèvres porcelain – another of George IV’s favourites – decorated with scenes taken from Dutch paintings.

Willem van Mieris, 'The Neglected Lute', c.1708 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Willem van Mieris, ‘The Neglected Lute’, c.1708
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Some twenty or so works in this exhibition will move to the Dutch Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague this coming autumn because that gallery has loaned Gerrit Dou’s The Young Mother to this show.  It is a painting which was given to Charles II in 1660 and when William of Orange became our King in 1688 he inherited this painting with the rest of the British Royal Collection.  The picture was sent to decorate Het Loo his new hunting lodge near Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and has remained there ever since.

Ludolf de Jongh, 'A Formal Garden: Three Ladies Surprised by a Gentleman', c.1676 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Ludolf de Jongh, ‘A Formal Garden: Three Ladies Surprised by a Gentleman’, c.1676
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

There is a sense of fun and humour in many of the paintings which depict scenes from everyday middle class life from the servants’ point of view and it is this element that makes it a suitable bedfellow for the adjoining Rowlandson exhibition.

 

High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace until 14th February 2016

Money Lenders, 1784 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Money Lenders, 1784
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Very little was safe from Rowlandson’s satirical wit as this exhibition shows be it society, fashion, politicians, love or the royal family.  The young George IV when Prince of Wales was a particular target because of his extravagance and dubious lifestyle.  Despite that it was George who started collecting these prints.  They provide a fascinating glimpse into a world that many of us have read about in the works of Jane Austen.

Four-leaf screen, pasted with satirical prints c.1806 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Four-leaf screen, pasted with satirical prints c.1806
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

PS: Don’t forget you can enjoy free re-admission for a year by asking us to treat your ticket purchase as a donation:
1. Before you leave the site, please sign and print your name in the spaces provided on the reverse of your ticket.
2. Hand the ticket to a member of staff, who will stamp and validate it.
3. Retain your ticket for future visits.
Your ticket will only be accepted for re-admission if it has been stamped and signed on the day of your first visit

BOOK REVIEW: The Children’s Interactive Story of Art

The Children’s Interactive Story of Art

Susie Hodge

Carlton Kids, £14.99

 

AR interactive story of artThis is an ideal book for any child (and possibly adults) who wants to know a bit more about art as it looks at paintings from prehistoric times to the present day.  Many of the paintings featured can be found in London’s National Gallery.  Not only is there the book but also you can download a free app and create your own virtual gallery using paintings from the National Gallery and, of course, you can add your own too.  Sounds fun!

http://www.carltonkids.com

Dulwich Picture Gallery – II

‘An Impossible Bouquet, Four Masterpieces by Jan van Huysum’, Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 28th September 2014

Jan van Huysum Still Life 1724, Private Collection

Jan van Huysum Still Life 1724, Private Collection

This rather splendid exhibition celebrates the virtuosity of the Dutch artist Jan van Huysum (1682-1749) and underlines the reason for his being regarded as the foremost still-life painter of his day.

Jan van Huysum Vase with Flowers c.1715

Jan van Huysum Vase with Flowers c.1715

Dulwich’s own painting is joined by three others, including Flowers in a Vase with Crown Imperial and Fruit and Flowers in front of a Garden Vase which have been together since they left the painter’s studio circa 1732. What is particularly striking about them is they appear to have been painted as a “pair”, which is unusual in his oeuvre. They certainly show how complex his arrangements could be as sometimes he included 35 different flower types which, of course, in his day would not have been seen together at the same time of year. Hence, as he worked from sketches, a painting could take two years to be completed which resulted in him signing them with two dates.

Jan van Huysum Flowers in a Vase with Crown Imperial and Apple Blossom at the Top and a Statue of Flora 1731-2, Private Collection

Jan van Huysum Flowers in a Vase with Crown Imperial and Apple Blossom at the Top and a Statue of Flora 1731-2, Private Collection

Jan van Huysum Fruit and Flowers in front of a Garden Vase with an Opium Poppy and a Row of Cypresses 1731-2, Private Collection

Jan van Huysum Fruit and Flowers in front of a Garden Vase with an Opium Poppy and a Row of Cypresses 1731-2, Private Collection

He was popular with collectors in his own day and one can see why that popularity has endured across the years.

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

WADDESDON MANOR – 3

Although not an exhibition as such this is an important and happy tale.


A One-time Pair of Paintings by a Master of the Dutch Golden Age

 

Thanks to the Rothschild Foundation acquiring this year An Encampment with Soldiers Gambling by Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668) it has now been reunited with a painting by the same artist with which it was originally paired in the18th century – A Hawking Party Resting outside an Inn.

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, An Encampment with Soldiers Gambling on a Drum, c 1655 – c 1657; oil on oak panel; 350 x 410; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts) On loan since 2014; accession number 28.2013. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, An Encampment with Soldiers Gambling on a Drum, c 1655 – c 1657; oil on oak panel; 350 x 410; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts) On loan since 2014; accession number 28.2013. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Both hung in the collection of Paul Randon de Boisset (1710-1776), Receveur Géneral des Finances, who was a keen promoter of the vogue for 17th century Dutch pictures in 18th century Paris. It was customary to hang them alongside works by contemporary artists such as Boucher, Greuze and Fragonard.

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, A Hawking Party Resting outside an Inn, 1655-57; oil on panel; 362 x 413; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; accession number 2567. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, A Hawking Party Resting outside an Inn, 1655-57; oil on panel; 362 x 413; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; accession number 2567. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Although less highly regarded today than he was in the 18th and 19th centuries Wouwerman was appreciated for his depictions of horses and scenes of everyday life and highly valued, especially for the contrast between light and shade and the complex compositions.

The pictures remained together until 1812 when they were sold at auction but ended up in different Rothschild collections. The Encampment was in the collection of Alfred de Rothschild while the Hawking Party was acquired by Anselm de Rothschild and left to his son Ferdinand de Rothschild who built Waddesdon. Now happily they can be seen together again in the Blue Dining Room. Long may it be thus.

Blue Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor  ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : John Bigelow Taylor’

Blue Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor
©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : John Bigelow Taylor’

 

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk