Lot 1
  • 1

South Netherlandish School, circa 1530

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
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  • Portrait of a bearded man, bust length, wearing a black hat and fur, holding a dagger
  • oil on oak panel, prepared with a painted arched top for an engaged frame, with added strips 0.9 cm. wide along the lateral sides


M. Schwarz, Berlin;
By whom sold (anonymously), Munich, Hugo Helbing, 21-24 May 1935, lot 45 (reproduced plate 13), as by the Meister der Statthalterin Maria von Ungarn, when acquired by the ancestor of the present owner, according to family records;
Thence by descent.


The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar, who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's. UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The panel has been cradled and has successfully secured various splits in the panel, which have been subsequently restored. There is one hairline split running up from the lower horizontal framing edge which is very slightly open, but appears to be stable. Paint Surface The paint surface has very discoloured varnish layers, as well as surface dirt and should respond well to cleaning. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows no evidence of retouching, but there may be retouchings beneath the old varnish layers which are not identifiable under ultra-violet light Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition with the fine detail intact with no evidence of abrasion or overcleaning. The split running up from the lower framing edge could be secured and the painting should be transformed by cleaning and revarnishing. Framing The gilded pedestal frame has several losses, particularly along the upper edges.
"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

Despite its evident high quality, this small portrait has defied satisfactory attribution.  When sold in 1935 it was given - upon the suggestion of Max J. Friedländer - to the Meister der Statthalterin Maria von Ungarn (described as Netherlandish, circa 1500), and named such because it was believed the anonymous artist was a court Painter to the Regentess Maria of Hungary. This hand was later linked with the English painter  William Scrots, to whom it was attributed in 1980.  It does not however appear to be by Scrots nor apparently English, and it is most likely South Netherlandish, probably painted in Antwerp or Brussels, although it is possible that it is Westphalian. On grounds of costume as well as style, it can however be dated with greater confidence to the late 1520s or 1530s.