The Property of a European Private Collector
STUDIO OF JAN DAVIDSZ. DE HEEM | Portrait of William III (1650–1702), Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, within a garland of flowers and fruit, with a lion holding an orange in its paws
Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP
The Property of a European Private Collector
STUDIO OF JAN DAVIDSZ. DE HEEM
Utrecht 1606 - 1683/4 Antwerp
Portrait of William III (1650–1702), Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, within a garland of flowers and fruit, with a lion holding an orange in its paws
bears signature lower right: J.D. Heem F
inscribed along the upper margin: [INTA]MINA[TIS] FVLGET HONORIBVS HORAT;
and along the lower margin: DIT’S WIL H[e]M VAN NASSOVW, […]ICH , ORANIe, BLOVM. / Die DOOR DeN LVISTER PRAeLT, […]YN VOOR OVWD’Ren ROVM, / GeLieVKOOST VAN De LeeVW; SOO […]DICH ALS WeL = VAeReND / BY DV […ONT?] SPROTeN SPRVIT VAN LeLY en VAN AReND. / VAN WIT eN ROODe ROOS, TOT MeeRDERING SŸNS ROVM
oil on canvas
146 x 119.5 cm.; 57½ x 47 in.
The canvas is lined, the paint surface is dirty and the varnish is discoloured. A knock to the reverse of the canvas is visible from the front in a small, vertical raised bump just above the daisies to the right of the bust. Discoloured retouching is visible scattered throughout the sitter’s face and cravat, and to a series of repaired tears extending in a network ultimately approx. 40 cm. in length, from the right of the grapes above the sitter’s head, down beside his face, across to the eagle’s wing on the right, through the lower half of his face and into the left of his neck cloth. There are slight scuffs and retouchings visible scattered along all four margins. Inspection under ultraviolet light is impeded by the old varnish, but some areas of retouching are revealed in the red flower to the left of the lion’s head, and in the yellow flower above this, as well as to the aforementioned retouchings. The rest of the composition appears to remain largely untouched save for scattered pin-prick retouchings - but any older restoration is impossible to discern. In overall fairly good condition, which will improve with cleaning.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Possibly private collection, England;
Possibly whence offered, London, Foster, 16–17 February 1825, lot 87 (as De Heem, 'a chef d'ouvre' [sic]), unsold at 55 Guineas;
Anonymous sale, London, T. and H. Rodd, 1827, lot 275 (as De Heem), for £84;
Possibly John Huish, Coulthorpe;
Possibly his posthumous sale, London, Foster, 25 March 1829, lot 87 (as De Heem), for £4–4s. to Taylor;
Possibly private collection, Maryland Point, Stratford, Essex;
Possibly whence posthumously sold ('The Property of a Gentleman'), London, Stanley, 4 April 1833, lot 21 (as De Heem);
Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Gentleman'), London, Christie's, 14 February 1947, lot 50 (as J. de Heem), for £42 to Fenouil;
With P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1948 (as De Heem);
Anonymous sale, Lisbon, Casa Liquidadora, 7 April 1949, lot 20 (as De Heem);
Probably where acquired by or on behalf of the grandfather of the present owner, and certainly in his ownership before 1955;
Thence by descent.
Amsterdam, P. de Boer, Tentoonstelling van Oude Schilderijen, July – 15 September 1948 (as De Heem).
B.M.J. Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij, Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606–1683/84). Allegorisch portret van Prins Willem III, brochure published when the painting from Lyon was on semi-long-term loan to the Schilderijenzaal Willem V, The Hague, 1983–85, unpaginated, reproduced plate 4;
M.E. Tiethoff-Spliethoff, 'Bloemstilleven van Willem III vol symbolen', in Tableau, vol. 7, no. 5, April/May 1985, p. 36;
S. Segal, Jan Davidsz. de Heem und sein Kreis, exh. cat., Brunswick 1991, p. 164, under cat. no. 22 (as a 'signed copy');
F.G. Meijer, Jan Davidsz. de Heem 1606–1684, doctoral diss., University of Amsterdam 2016, p. 266, under cat. no. A237, Copy A (as anonymous).
The still life in this painting is very close in quality to the prime version of the composition by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, today in the Musée des Beaux‐Arts, Lyon.1 That work was presented to the Prince of Orange in or shortly after 1672, when De Heem was working in Utrecht, by Jan Vermeer van Utrecht (1630–95/97), who reportedly bought the painting from De Heem for 2,000 guilders. Dr Fred G. Meijer, to whom we are grateful for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot, believes that Vermeer is the author of the portrait in the centre of the Lyon painting.2 The present work was surely executed by an artist with close knowledge of De Heem's original, most likely a member of the master's studio.
1 Inv. no. A-85; see Meijer 2016, pp. 265–67, cat. no. A237.
2 For a discussion of the commission and Arnold Houbraken's account of the painting, see Meijer 2016, pp. 251–53.