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Title A Dutch Party
Alternative Title A Party; Dutch Party of Cavaliers and Ladies.
Collection Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Hals, Dirck (Dutch painter, 1591-1656)
Previously attributed to Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish painter and draftsman, 1577-1640)
Date Earliest about 1625
Date Latest about 1629

This 'merry company' scene scene shows a gathering of twenty-two male and female figures in a room with a tiled floor. They are grouped around long tables on which food and plates can be seen. In the centre, a man tilts backwards on his chair; beside him are two dogs. Several of the figures are looking out of the picture at the spectator, such as the woman with the group on the right who turns around on her chair to glance towards us. Sitting in front of her is a man smoking a pipe. On the wall behind this group is a map which has been identified as the map of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands, which was issued in 1602 by the Dutch publisher and map-maker, Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612). Hals used the same map in a similar scene now in the National Gallery, Prague. The picture on the back wall shows a ship on stormy seas.

Several of the figure compositions re-appear in other works by Hals.

Current Accession Number 1910-55
Subject everyday life; figure
Measurements 43.2 x 78.4 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by Sir Kenneth A. Muir Mackenzie (K.C.B., K.C.) 1910.
Provenance Collection of William Graham M.P. (1817-1885); by marriage to Kenneth Augustus Muir Mackenzie from 1874; on loan to Nottingham Castle Museum (then Midland Counties Art Museum) from 1879.
Principal Exhibitions Jubilee Exhibition 1878-1928, City of Nottingham Art Gallery, 1928, cat. no. 46; Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collections, Birmingham City Art Gallery, Birmingham, 1989, cat. no. 53, as Dutch Party of Cavaliers and Ladies.
Publications Wallis, G. H., Illustrated Catalogue of the Permanent Collection, City of Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham Castle, 1913, 2nd edn, p. 111, as A Party by Peter Paul Rubens); Welu, James A., Vermeer and Cartography, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Boston University, 1977, pp. 11-13, 133, fig. 13; The Connoisseur, vol. 76, November 1926, p. 162, illustrated; Wright, Christopher, Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collections, Birmingham, 1989, cat. no. 53, as Dutch Party of Cavaliers and Ladies.

Inscriptions on the back: 1. label with red border and docked corners: '33189'; 2. in white chalk: '68'; 3. label at upper left: 'W. Graham Esq. No. 21'; 4. white, modern label: 'D. Hals 53' (this number relates to the Dutch Painting exhibition held in Birmingham in 1989); 5. remains of a label at top of frame: 'MIDLAND COUNTIES ART MUSEUM / NOTTINGHAM CASTLE / [...]kenzie [handwritten] / [...] on [handwritten]'.

Between 1984 and 1985, a research assistant, Dr Brendan Cassidy, was employed by Nottingham Castle Museum to research and write a catalogue of the foreign oil paintings in their collection. The catalogue never materialised, but drafts and notes relating to Cassidy's research can be found in the Artist Files and in the archive at the museum. All references to Cassidy relate to these documents.

This painting has been identified by Peter Sutton (Philadelphia Museum of Art) as a work by Hals from the late 1620s (letter, dated 13 July 1984, to Cassidy).

Baron Kenneth Augustus Muir-Mackenzie (P.C., G.C.B., K.C.B., KC, C.B., J.P.) was born on 29 June 1845, the fourth son of Sir John William Pitt Muir-Mackenzie, second baron of Delvine, Perthshire, and Sophia Matilda, fifth daughter of James Raymond Johnstone of Alva, County Clackmannan.

He was educated at Charterhouse and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1874 he married Amy Graham, one of the daughters of William Graham, M.P. for Glasgow. They had four children, a son William Montague, who died in 1900, and three daughters. He was made a Barrister at Lincoln's Inn in 1878 and appointed Permanent Principal Secretary to the Lord Chancellor in 1880. In 1884 he was created Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and in 1892, Companion of the Order of Bath. He was knighted in 1898 and created Baron Muir Mackenzie on his retirement from office in 1915. He died in London on 22 May 1930.

Although Kenneth Muir Mackenzie did not have any local connection with Nottingham, he loaned 103 paintings to the art gallery soon after it opened in 1878. The first of these arrived on 5 March 1879 from Graham House, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. This was the address of Mackenzie's father-in-law, William Graham M.P., from whose art collection he inherited most of the paintings he later gave to Nottingham Castle Museum. In 1886 a number of the loaned paintings were recalled for the sale of William Graham's collection at Christie's in March and April of that year. A Dutch Party was given by Mackenzie to Nottingham Castle Museum on 10 May 1910.

References: Who Was Who, vol. 3, 1929-40, London, 1947, p. 979; Donor File 1910-52-65, Nottingham Castle Museum archive Loan Ledger A (Day Book A), Nottingham Castle Museum archive; www.naa.gov.au; www.nga.gov/

Rights Owner Nottingham City Museums and Galleries: Nottingham Castle
Author Dr Rebecca Virag



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