Lot 32
  • 32

Jacob van Hulsdonck

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
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  • Jacob van Hulsdonck
  • A still life with wild strawberries and a carnation in a Ming Dynasty, Wanli Period (1573-1619), blue and white Kraak-type barbed-rim bowl, with cherries and redcurrants on a wooden ledge
  • signed lower left: IVHVLSDONCK. FE (IVH in ligature)
  • oil on copper (affixed to a panel)


Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Lady'), London, Christie's, 25 November 1966, lot 44, for 4000 Guineas to Koetser;
With Leonard Koetser, London, 1967;
With Julia Kraus, Paris;
Private collection, Germany, 1983;
Robert H. Smith, Washington;
With Bob Haboldt, New York, 1995;
Private collection;
Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Private Collector'), London, Sotheby's, 14 December 2000, lot 15;
Private collection, Germany;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 8 July 2009, lot 12, where acquired by the late owner.


London, Leonard Koetser, Spring 1967, no. 3, reproduced;
Amsterdam, P. de Boer, 22 April - 31 May 1983;
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton-Ulrich-Museum, A Fruitful Past, 15 June - 31 July 1983, no. 27;
New York, Bob P. Haboldt, Fifty Paintings by Old Masters, 1995, no. 28.


T. H. Crombie, 'Autumn Offerings', in Apollo, vol. lxxviii, no. 20, October 1963, p. 305, reproduced;
Christie's Review of the Season, 1966-7, p. 30, reproduced;
'The Leonard Koetser Spring Exhibition', in The Connoisseur, no. 164, 1967, p. 253, reproduced fig. 3;
S. Segal, in A Fruitful Past, exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam 1983, pp. 65, 115, cat. no. 27;
S. Segal, Flowers and Nature, The Hague 1990, p. 84, cat. no. 31, reproduced.


The following condition report is provided by Sarah Walden, who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's. The oak panel of this painting has been thinned and rebacked, probably in the 60's. The present varnish and restoration probably dates from the same time, with the few small retouchings almost entirely confined to the corners, and occasionally the edges. The beautifully intact paint surface has retained its fine translucent luminosity. The delicate brushwork within the bowl of strawberries itself and rich depth of tone in the background are equally well preserved. There are a few minute retouchings in the shadow of the bowl on the ledge and around its far outline to the left, with a faint line defining the edge of the ledge on the left, a few touches around the butterfly and at the upper edge of a leaf at centre left, visible under ultra violet light. However these are minimal surface touches and the fine texture of the paint throughout the still life is beautifully intact, even and unworn, including the signature. 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

Though born in Antwerp, Hulsdonck seems to have spent his youth in Middelburg, where the exiled Flemish Protestants fleeing the Spanish Terror after 1585 included many artists as well as patrons. This, and the close trading links with Dutch cities upstream such as Dordrecht, provided there a fertile breeding ground for artistic talent. Hulsdonck certainly knew Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. The two artists' work show great affinity, but Bosschaert, who was nearly ten years older than Hulsdonck, probably influenced the younger artist. Both were influenced by Jan Brueghel the Elder, but after Hulsdonck's return to Antwerp in 1608, his work shows more affinity with Osias Beert, who had been enrolled in the Guild in 1602 (but who never dated a picture), and who therefore probably influenced Hulsdonck, rather than vice versa.

This understated picture is one of Hulsdonck's most elegant compositions. His simplest compositions tend to be his most successful - the same is true of his still lifes of flowers in vases.