Lot 3
  • 3

Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael

30,000 - 40,000 GBP
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  • Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael
  • A river landscape at dusk with a fisherman on a bank in the foreground
  • signed in monogram and dated lower left: JVR / 1649
  • oil on oak panel
  • 7in by 11¼in


Bought for £9-19-6 by the Schomberg Henry Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian (1833-1900), 9 November 1872;

Thence by descent.


Newbattle Abbey inventory, May 1878, no. 641;

Newbattle Abbey inventory, 21 May 1900, no. 641 (Study);

S. Slive and H.R. Hoetinck, Jacob van Ruisdael, exhibition catalogue, New York 1981, p. 16, reproduced p. 17, fig. 3;

Monteviot House inventory, 14 July 1989, no. 641 (Morning Room);

S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael. A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings and Etchings, New Haven and London 2001, p. 383, cat. no. 524, reproduced.


The following condition report is provided by Sarah Walden who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's: This painting is on a single piece of oak, with no trace of movement. The exceptionally beautiful condition of even the most minute detail and the deepest shadow is rare. A single area in the upper right sky has slight wear, with a few minor retouchings encircling the dark cloud. Elsewhere throughout the rich texture and depth of tone has been preserved perfectly intact. This report was not done under laboratory conditions.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This exquisite painting is one of extremely few examples in which Ruisdael turned his hand to a nocturne, studying the effects of evening light. As Slive observed, the composition transforms the norm established by the artist's uncle Salomon van Ruysdael in his great river landscapes of the 1640s by bringing the clump of trees to the left close to the foreground, opening up a much larger body of water behind it, imparting 'a sense of vastness of the still body of water'.1 Both the composition as well as the choice of a low-light late evening setting reflects the influence of Ruisdael's townsman Cornelis Vroom. Vroom's influence on Ruisdael's development was most palpable at the very end of the 1640s, and is evident for example in two other works from 1649 in which evening late and deep shadow are key characteristics: the celebrated river landscape in the Torrie Collection, Edinburgh, and the Evening Landscape with a Windmill in the Royal Collection.2 

1. See Slive 2001, p. 383, under no. 524.

2. See Hoetink and Slive 1981, pp. 44–47, nos 9 and 10, both reproduced.