Lot 103
  • 103

Edwaert Collier

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
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  • Edwaert Collier
  • A still life with a crown and sceptre, a violin, a jewel casket, a nautilus cup, and a print of Erasmus
  • signed and dated on the print: E Collier/fecit 1695 and signed upper right: E. Collier.fect
  • oil on canvas
  • 34in by 49½in


Probably acquired by Robert Kerr, 4th Earl and later 1st Marquess of Lothian (1636-1703);
Thence by descent.


Probably Monteviot House inventory, 14 July 1989 (Nursery);
D. Wahrman, Mr. Collier's letter racks: a tale of art & illusion at the threshold of the modern information age, New York and Oxford 2012, p. 248.


The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar Ltd who are external specialists and not employees of Sotheby's: Structural Condition The canvas has been lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher with four diagonal corner batons. This is providing a secure and stable structural support. Paint Surface The paint surface has an uneven, discoloured and degraded varnish layer. There are several scratches visible on the paint surface and around the framing edges. Inspection under ultra-violet light confirms an opaque and discoloured varnish layer. Inspection under ultra-violet also shows extensive retouching, the most significant of which are: 1) Retouchings throughout the background, 2) extensive retouchings covering the most part of the upper left quadrant, 3) a concentration of retouchings on the open book in the right of the composition, 4) scattered lines and spots in the book lying flat on the table, on the open music score and on the edges of the portrait on the piece of paper, on and around the back of the chest, the fruit and the table. 5) Larger areas of retouching along the lower horizontal framing edge and other retouchings throughout the composition. The details of the globe, the violin, flute and crown have relatively minimal inpainting. There may be further retouchings which are not visible due to the very opaque and discoloured varnish layers. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in stable condition. The extent of restoration applied in the past should be noted and the painting would benefit from surface cleaning and revarnishing if required.
"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

Edwaert Collier arrived in London in 1693, leaving a plummeting market for still lifes in Holland for a lately booming one in England. In the mid-1690s Robert Kerr, 4th Earl and later 1st Marquess of Lothian (1636-1703), became one of the most avid collectors of both Collier's, and his compatriot in London, Pieter van Roestraeten's illusionist tromp l'oeil still lifes. It is clear from the Earl's letters that he regarded these large canvases as economical decoration, 'knowing no ornaments Cheaper, and more modish [...] I have bought some pictur for my selfe which will serve instead of hangins in Lynd rooms and much cheaper [sic.].'1 Collier himself is known to have supplied the Earl, and the lost Newbattle Abbey inventory, March 1833, lists at least four works by the artist.2 Though absent from this list, it seems most likely that the present painting was acquired by the 4th Earl, Collier's only British patron identified with absolute certainty during the artist's lifetime.

1. Lothian to Lady Lothian, 18 February 1694.
2. Newbattle Abbey inventory, March 1833, nos 500, 501, 515 and 533.