As Ernst van de Wetering first described, some years ago, it seems to have been a fairly common practice in 17th-century Holland for artists to carry with them small booklets of prepared paper or vellum tablets of this type, on which they could make rapid sketches in metalpoint or hard chalk, obliterating these studies when they were no longer needed by re-grounding the sheet for reuse.2 Some of the studies on these sheets by Van Tilborgh are copied from earlier prototypes, others seem to be original ideas, but in both cases, the artist is using the ‘tafelette’ for the purposes of study and learning. Another sheet from the group was formerly in the collection of Charles Ryskamp.3 See also the fine metalpoint drawing by Andries Both, lot 261 above.
1. A. van Camp, ‘Metalpoint Drawings in the Low Countries in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,’ in S. Sell & H. Chapman, Drawing in Silver and Gold, Leonardo to Jasper Johns, exh. cat., Washington, National Gallery of Art, and London, British Museum, 2015, pp. 159-60
2. E. van de Wetering, ‘Verdwenen tekeningen en het gebruik van afwisbare tekenplankjes en ‘tafeletten’,’ Oud Holland, vol. CV, 1991, pp. 210-27
3. Sold, New York, Sotheby’s, 25 January 2011, lot 212; see W.W. Griswold et al., The World Observed. Five Centuries of Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp, exh. cat., New York, The Morgan Library, no. 21
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