Lot 105
  • 105

Willem Key

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Willem Key
  • Portrait of a bearded gentleman, half length, in a black doublet, holding the Book of Psalms;
    Portrait of a lady, half length in a black gown, holding the Book of Psalms
  • the gentleman, dated upper left: Ao 1565 and inscribed upper right: AETA . 36 (A and E in ligature);
    the lady, inscribed upper right: AETA . 24 (A and E in ligature)
  • a pair, both oil on panel
  • each: 28 by 22 in.; 71 by 56 cm. 

Catalogue Note

While the sitters have not yet been identified, the lengths of heavy gold chains looped around the necks of this lady and gentleman suggest they were a couple of some material wealth. They can be closely compared on stylistic grounds to a pair of three-quarter length pendant portraits in the Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künst, Vienna (inv. nos. 566 and 567), which date to 1564.  The lady in the Vienna portrait wears a remarkably similar pair of fine, transparent oversleeves, gathered at the wrists with gold bracelets.  In the present portrait of the lady, however, the white silk sleeves beneath are decorated with elaborate blackwork embroidery, as is the under layer of her starched cap.  Dr. Koenraad de Jonckheere considers the Vienna portraits to have been painted in collaboration with the artist's pupil, Adriaen Thomansz. Key, which may also have been the case for the present panels.1

We are grateful to Dr. Koenraad de Jonckheere and Dr. Till-Holger Borchert for their assistance in the cataloguing of this lot. 

1. K. Jonckheere, Willem Key (1516-1568), Portrait of a Humanist Painter, Turnhout 2011, p. 93, cat. nos. A30-A31, reproduced.