The identity of the sitter (already unknown by the time of the 1855 sale, see Provenance) came to light with the discovery of reduced copies by Eglon van der Neer (1635/36-1703) of the present portrait and its (now lost) male pendant (figs. 1 and 2). Those small-scale copies, which are on panel with arched tops, have always been identified as Jaquemina Le Pla and her first husband Justus Ghys (1638-1680), a Leiden merchant and distant cousin of van den Tempel.1 Based on the van der Neer copy, it is evident that van den Tempel’s lost portrait of Ghys was equally elegant, depicting him in silk finery and a lace shirt, set before an impressive classical interior.
The couple registered their betrothal in Leiden on 7 October 1666, which suggests a date for this picture of the same year, when van den Tempel would have been at the peak of his career. In 1677, Ghys purchased a house, the Hof van Zessen (Court of Sixes) at number 28B Rapenburg, Leiden. The couple lived there until Ghys' death in 1680, when the house passed to Jacquemijna. She married two more times, first to Andries de Visscher (to whom she was betrothed on 9 March 1683) and, after his death, to the preacher David Knibbe, to whom she was married on 17 August 1693).2
1. Martina Friedrich, formerly of the Wesserenaissance-Museum, Schloss Brake, Lemgo, Germany, first relayed the identification of these sitters in a letter to Dr. Naumann, dated 12 April 12 1998. Dr. Eddy Schavemaker has since identified these copies as autograph works by Eglon van der Neer and published them, as well as the present picture, in his monograph on van der Neer, see under Literature.
2. See E. Schavemaker, under Literature.
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