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Attributed to Backhuysen, Ludolf, I (Dutch painter, calligrapher, and printmaker, 1630-1708) , An Embarkation Scene

Core Record

Title An Embarkation Scene
Alternative Title The Landing of William of Orange at Scheveningen (?)
Collection English Heritage (Brodsworth Hall)
Artist Attributed to Backhuysen, Ludolf, I (Dutch painter, calligrapher, and printmaker, 1630-1708)
Attributed to Dubbels, Hendrik Jacobsz. (Dutch painter, born 1620 or 1621, died 1676)
Previously attributed to Backhuysen, Ludolf, I (Dutch painter, calligrapher, and printmaker, 1630-1708)
Date Earliest probably about 1660
Date Latest possibly about 1665
Description Ludolf Backhuysen, a marine painter and calligrapher, worked in Amsterdam. Following the departure of the Van de Veldes for London in 1672, he became the leading marine painter in the Netherlands, enjoying the patronage of Peter the Great and others. Hendrik Jacobsz. Dubbels was a painter of seascapes and landscapes. He was employed in the studios of other Amsterdam marine artists, including Backhuysen, his former pupil. In this possible collaboration between Backhuysen and Dubbels, numerous figures have gathered on the shore. Others are embarking in small boats, flying the Dutch flag, to proceed to the fleet which lies at anchor in the distance.
Current Accession Number 90009225
Subject marine; everyday life
Measurements 79 x 115 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Transferred to English Heritage 1990.
Provenance Acquired by William Theobald, 1794-1850; bought by Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson, 1851; by descent to Pamela Williams; purchased by National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1990.
Publications Anon., ‘Picture Sales of the Month', The Art-Journal, new series, iii, 1851, p. 174; Dars, C., Catalogue of Paintings in British Collections: English Heritage etc., London, 1993, cat. no. 36, p. 23

Before 2005, this painting was always regarded as being by Backhuysen. However, Dr Gerlinde de Beer suggests, on the basis of a photograph, that it is a collaboration between Backhuysen and Dubbels in an email of 13 January 2005 (Brodsworth files). On the other hand, Dr Ulrike Middendorf proposes, also on the basis of a photograph, that it is entirely the work of Dubbels in a letter of 2 February 2005 (Brodsworth files). A smaller version of the composition, painted on wood, 56 x 88 cm, in the Neue Residenz, Bamberg, is included in Middendorf's monograph on Dubbels as 'Dubbels, Werkstatt Backhuysen,' that is, painted by Dubbels in Backhuysen's studio, and dated in separate references to 1665-7 and 1665-70 (see Middendorf, U., Hendrik Jacobsz. Dubbels (1621-1707), Freren, 1989, pp. 43, 150, cat. no.95, reproduced p. 151).

The painting clearly depicts an embarkation rather than a landing. However, as it is not easy to identify a king or any other important figure in the scene, it is unlikely that a specific event is depicted. Middendorf suggests that this is the case in the letter cited above, although in her book she writes of the Bamberg picture as probably depicting the embarkation of Charles II for England at Scheveningen on 2 June 1660. De Beer, in the email cited above, suggests that this could be the subject of the Brodsworth picture, although the embarkation of William II, Prince of Orange, for England in 1641 is another possibility. Both De Beer and Middendorf propose a dating in the early 1660s.

Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson (1822-1885) bought the work for 113 guineas, or £118:13s, at William Theobald's posthumous sale at Christie's, London, on 10 May 1851 (lot 68, 'A View on the Shore at Scheveling [sic]'). The price is confirmed by the list 'Pictures: what I gave for them' and Heather and Sons' 'List of Pictures the property of C.S.A Thellusson Esq.' The painting is mentioned in C. S. A. Thellusson's will of 1883 (one of 'the two seapieces by Backhuysen') and was recorded at Brodsworth Hall in the 1885 inventory as in the dining room ('[Oil painting] Seapiece with vessels at anchor in distance & numerous figures & vehicles on shore, by Backhuysen'). It remained in the dining room at the time of the 1952 inventory ('1 Seascape 3' 8 by 2' 6 by Backhuysen').

Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author Richard Green



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