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Title A Concert Party
Alternative Title Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester at Kenilworth
Collection Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Artist Attributed to Dutch (Delft) School
Attributed to Flemish School
Previously attributed to Hals, Dirck (Dutch painter, 1591-1656)
Date Earliest probably about 1600
Date Latest probably about 1700
Description A large work depicting a concert party in a villa garden. To the left a gentleman plays a lute, he is accompanied by a woman playing a keyboard instrument, various other figures, finely dressed in seventeenth-century attire, are shown sitting or standing about the walled garden. The space is bounded by a high wall, in the background are some trees with the villa to the right. The traditional identification of the subject as Queen Elizabeth I and Leicester is probably fanciful. The handling seems awkward.
Current Accession Number TRURI:1921.31
Subject everyday life; buildings and gardens
Measurements 63.5 x 117.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by Alfred A. de Pass 1921.
Publications Penrose, G., Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Miniatures in the Alfred A. de Pass Collection, Truro, 1936, cat. no. 17, p. 8, as sixteenth-century Dutch school; The Times, February 10, 2001, ill.

Inscription on back '23.'; two labels on back identify the artist as Dirk Hals and give the traditional title, one over-written 'Flemish 17thC NOT D. Hals'

Alfred A. de Pass (1861-1953) was born in South Africa, where his father and grandfather had established a business empire which included interests in shipping, guano, copper mining and sugar farming. After retiring from the family firm at age 36, Alfred pursued his interest in art collecting. For a period he lived in Cornwall, where he took an active interest in the Truro museum, then called the Royal Institution of Cornwall. In 1917 he was elected Associate of the Institution and in 1920 became its Vice-President. His gifts to the museum between 1914 and 1947 included many works of Western European fine and decorative art, including an important collection of old master drawings, as well as Oriental paintings, ceramics, metal work and textiles. For a list of Mr de Pass' donations of Western European paintings and drawings to the Truro museum up to 1936 see G. Penrose (cited below). He also donated to a number of other museums, including the National Gallery, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam, and the South African National Gallery.

The donor referred to the work in several letters but did not mention where he acquired it: ‘I am willing to present to the gallery ... a Dutch picture supposed to be the Queen Elizabeth & the Earl of Leicester' (August 25, 1921).

Biographies and discussion of Mr de Pass' interests and donations may be found in: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The De Pass Collection: Paintings, Furniture, Ceramics etc., Illustrated Catalogue, Bristol, 1936; Popham, A.E., An Exhibition of Drawing from the Alfred A. de Pass Collection belonging to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, London, 1957; Walker, R., The De Pass Family, unpublished dissertation, Bristol Polytechnic, 1979; Price, B.D., Biographical Notes on Alfred Aaron De Pass (1861-1952) Art Benefactor Extraordinary, Falmouth, 1982; Nail, N., ‘The Cornish curator and the cosmopolitan collector: a note on George Penrose, 1876-1951, and Alfred de Pass, 1861-1953', Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1993, New Series II, I, 3, pp. 277-89; Berriman, H., ‘Introduction' in M. Joannides, Exhibition Catalogue of Master Drawing from the De Pass Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, London, 1994, pp. 7-11; Tietze, A., The Alfred de Pass Presentation to the South African National Gallery, exhibition catalogue, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, 1995; Irvine, G., and T. Daniel, Japanese Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall, 2001.

Robert Wenley of Glasgow Museums rejected the traditional title and the connection with England. He suggested a number of possible Dutch or Flemish artists: Willem Buytech; Esias van de Velde; Hieronymus Francken I; Hieronmymous Franken II; Frans Franken II; Louis de Caullery; Sebastian Vrancx - though it could be a later pastiche. Susan Foister of the National Gallery pointed out that the work resembled those of the Delft School, and observed the costumes are seventeenth century rather than sixteenth century.

Rights Owner Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Author Dr Susan Steer



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