THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER GENTLEMAN
signed and dated lower right: PN (in compendium) ason f/1664
Collection, Beel(aerts?)-van Blokland, The Hague;
Collection-De M.. E.A.,
His sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 23 February 1904, lot 27;
Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 12 April 1920;
Probably Geheimrat Regierungsrat Felix Schwabach;
Henrietta Schwabach (née Speyer), her estate sale, Berlin, Mandelbaum and Kronthal, 1 April 1936, lot 74;
Brought into the present owner's family circa 1947 and thence by descent.
Pieter Nason was born in Amsterdam and lived there until 1639, when he settled in The Hague. There he was a pupil of Jan van Ravesteyn and subsequently joined the local painters' guild. He became a highly successful portrait painter, receiving commissions from political and courtly circles. Dated portraits by Nason are recorded from the early 1640s to circa 1680. Nason may have travelled to England in 1663, as in that year he painted the portrait of King Charles II, and he was certainly active at the Brandenburg court in Berlin, where he is recorded from 1666-68.
The present portrait was painted in 1664, at the height of Nason's career. It portrays Hendrik Thibaut (1604-1667), Lord of St. Aagtekerke on the island of Walcheren, Zeeland, Knight of the French Order of St. Michael. Thibaut was one of the leading Zeeland politicians of his time. He became Burgomaster of Middelburg in 1634, Governor of the Middelburg Chamber of the Dutch East India Company (The V.O.C.) in 1640, Counsellor to the Council of Flanders in 1654 and High Bailiff of Zeeland west of the river Schelde in 1655.
Thibaut married three times: his first wife, whom he married in 1631, was Maria van Gogh, with whom he had two sons (she was painted in 1632 by Jan van Ravesteyn; sold Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 13 April 1920, lot 63). He then married Neeltje Peckius, and lastly Isabella Porrenaar. Thibaut was buried in the church of St. Aagtekerke, together with his last wife and their daughter, whose portrait Nason had painted in 1668. In 1669, the sculptor Rombout Verhulst ( 1624-1696 ) erected the memorial for the Thibaut family. It still stands today and shows Thibaut's portrait medallion sculpted after the painted portrait by Nason.
The present portrait, and another version (see fig. 1), are both signed and dated 1664. In 2005 the two portraits were compared side by side, and discussed with Dr. R.E.O. Ekkart, who regards both as autograph, while the other picture (in a private collection), may justly claim to be the prime version.
In the portrait, Nason has underlined Thibaut's influential position in Zeeland. He sits holding the Bible under his left arm. The open book is entitled Annales et Histoires des Troubles des Pays-Bas by Hugo de Groot (1583-1645 ) and undoubtedly refers to Thibaut's important role in Zeeland's politics during the last part of the Eighty Years' War in the Dutch Republic.
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