oil on canvas
Sir William Roger Henry Palmer, 4th Baronet (1802-1869), Kenure Park, Rush, Co. Dublin;
Thence by direct family descent to the present owners.
Hans van Wechlen was born circa 1537 and is first mentioned in 1557 as Jan van Wechlen, Master of the apprentice Hans de Boeys in the St. Luke's Guild in Antwerp. The artist is recorded as painting religious works, very few of which survive. There are three variants of this composition, the prime version of which is similarly signed, painted on panel, and is now in a private European collection, formerly in the collection of Furst Oettingen-Wallerstein.1 The present picture follows this composition in most respects, although the composition is extended along both vertical sides and along the top: a third tree is visible on the left, more sky and a greater section of the wall of the tavern on the right is also apparent. Further minor differences can be seen. Another version of the composition, also on panel, but signed with monogram, sold in these Rooms, 1 April 1992, lot 57.
Little is known about this rare artist. He is known to have collaborated with Cornelis van Dalem (c.1530-1573) who was praised by Van Mander as an excellent painter of rocks ('fraye schilder van rotsen'),2 and both Rubens and Pieter Stevens are recorded as having owned paintings by him.3 The collaboration between Van Dalem and Van Wechlen is further discussed by Stirling and Franz.4
The painting was probably purchased by Sir William Roger Henry Palmer, 4th Baronet, for Kenure Park, following the large fire in 1827 which destroyed the original Georgian house, (built by the Duke of Ormond in 1703) and its contents. The painting hung in the Morning Room in the rebuilt Kenure, flamboyantly enlarged by the architect George Papworth, until the Trustees of the Palmer Estate instructed James H. North & Co. Ltd. of Dublin, to sell the contents of Kenure in 1964. The painting was included in the catalogue of the third day of the sale, 23 September 1964, lot 661, as 'Droogsloot, Kermesse', but withdrawn from the sale.
1. See E. Brochhagen, "Zu Hans van Wechlin und Cornelis van Dalem", in Munchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, vol. XIV, 1963, pp. 92-104, reproduced fig. 1.
2. See F. Grossmann, "Cornelis van Dalem Re-examined", in The Burllngton Magazine, February 1954, p. 42.
3. See U. Thieme and F. Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Kunstler, 1942, vol. XXXV, p. 229.
4. See C. Sterling, "Cornelis van Dalem and Jan van Wechlen", in Studies in the History of Art dedicated to William E. Suida, 1959, pp. 277-88; and H.G. Franz, Niederlandische Landschaftsmalerei in Zeitalter des Manierismus, 1969, vol. I, p. 229, and vol. II, reproduced fig. 400.
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