William Kerr, 3rd Marquess of Lothian (1690–1767);
Thence by descent.
Newbattle Abbey inventory, 1752 ('A Dutch piece of a frost... [£]2-2-0');
Newbattle Abbey inventory, c. 1788 ('Skating (on wood)');
Newbattle Abbey inventory, March 1833, no. 431;
Newbattle Abbey inventory, May 1878, no. 431 (Stairs);
C. Hofstede de Groote, 'Hollandsche Kunst in Schotland', in Oud Holland, 11, 1893, p. 217;
Monteviot House inventory, 14 July 1989, no. 431 (Study).
A native of Gorkum, Verstraelen's indebtedness to the work of Hendrick and Barend Avercamp lasted for his entire career. He settled in Amsterdam where in November 1628, at the age of thirty four, he married Magdalena Bosijn.1 Along with that of his contemporary, Arent Arentsz., called Cabel (c. 1585–1658), his work is taken as evidence that Hendrick Avercamp must have returned to Amsterdam for at least a short period after 1613. Verstraelen's winter landscapes were typically composed like this, with figures of skaters and everyday folk arranged across the foreground plane, while behind them a frozen river or canal stretches through a village into the distance. A similar example, dated 1641 and on the same scale was sold London, Christie's, 3 December 1997, lot 122. The banks of the river are, as here, typically occupied by humble country dwellings and the artist has used the same compositional device of a large figure on the left foreground bank with the frozen river snaking back towards a distant church.
1. A.D. de Vries, 'Biografische aanteekeningen betreffende voornamelijk Amsterdamsche schilders, plaatsnijders, enz. en hunne verwanten' (VII), in Oud-Holland, 4, 1886, pp. 215–24.
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