SIR ANTHONY VAN DYCK | PORTRAIT OF HUBERT DU HOT (B. CIRCA 1573), THREE-QUARTER LENGTH, IN BLACK WITH A WHITE RUFF
Property from Fergus Hall, London
Property from Fergus Hall, London
SIR ANTHONY VAN DYCK
Antwerp 1599 - 1641 London
PORTRAIT OF HUBERT DU HOT (B. CIRCA 1573), THREE-QUARTER LENGTH, IN BLACK WITH A WHITE RUFF
oil on canvas
unframed: 114.5 x 98.5 cm.; 45⅛ x 38¾ in.
framed: 130.4 x 115 cm.; 51⅜ x 45¼ in.
To view Shipping Calculator, please click here
The following condition report is provided by Sarah Walden who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's: Sir Anthony van Dyck. Portrait of Hubert du Hot. This painting has a strong lining and a stretcher which is not very old, (it was not possible to see the back closely). There appears to be a pentiment in the ruff, with a narrower collar beneath. A rather broad band of several inches along the base edge appears to have been reworked in some way, with rather heavy retouching also down the right edge, possibly adjusting both edges. Under ultra violet light both of these areas clearly have quite wide retouching, with a narrower strip of retouching down the left edge. However quite extensive retouching can be seen within much of the background as well, and there does appear to have been a campaign of restoration perhaps characteristic of the seventies of the last century, with frequent retouching throughout, even within much of the fine brushwork of the head, over the slightest hint of craquelure. The great power of this portrait survives despite such excessive work, which has affected the characteristic sense of space around the figure nevertheless. This report was not done under laboratory conditions.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676–1753), Narford Hall, Norfolk;
Thence by descent until sold, on the premises, Christie’s, 7 July 1894, lot 24, for £320 to Shepherd;
With Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, 1898;
Matthew Chaloner Durfee Borden (1842–1912), New York;
His posthumous sale, New York, American Art Association, 13–14 February 1913, lot 27;
Mrs Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (1882–1973), Madison, New Jersey;
By whose Executors sold, New York, Sotheby’s, 23 January 1976, lot 137 (as after Sir Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of a man);
Private collection, Germany, 1976;
Whence sold, Vienna, Dorotheum, 21 October 2014, lot 29 (as attributed to Sir Anthony van Dyck).
G.F. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, vol. III, London 1854, p. 429;
Sedelmeyer Gallery, Illustrated catalogue of 300 paintings by old masters, Paris 1898, no. 21;
E. Schäffer, Van Dyck: des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst, Stuttgart 1909, p. 243;
W.R. Valentiner and A.F. Jaccaci, Old and modern masters in the collection of M.C.D. Borden, privately printed, New York 1911, p. 68, no. 15, reproduced in colour;
G. Glück, Van Dyck: des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst, Stuttgart 1931, p. 357;
E. Göpel, Ein Bildnisauftrag für Van Dyck; Antonis van Dyck, Philipp le Roy und die Kupferstecher. Veröffentlichungen zur Kunstgeschichte, vol. 5, Frankfurt am Main 1940, p. 116, no. 235;
S. Barnes et al., Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London 2004, p. 407, no. III.AI6 (as a copy of a lost original).
London, British Institution, 1842, no. 134.
"Van Dyck’s portraits from his 2nd Antwerp period are handled with a softness and sensitivity to his sitter’s features and character that speak of an artist at ease with his talent and no longer needing to prove himself. The limpid eyes of his Lillois sitter and the soft skin of his face, defining characteristics of the artist’s mature style, are in gentle contrast with his hieratic pose."
This portrait was most likely painted in Antwerp in 1632, just before Van Dyck left for London and the court of King Charles I. Van Dyck's portraits of this time are distinguished by, and were clearly particularly sought after because of, his ability to combine the appearance of casual elegance with a sense of nobility in his sitters. Considered to be an original work by Van Dyck throughout its publication history, the authenticity of this painting was questioned in the 2004 monograph on the basis of a photograph, when the portrait's whereabouts were unknown. Since its last appearance on the art market and its subsequent cleaning, however, its autograph status has been unanimously endorsed and reinstated by scholars,1 and the portrait may once again be considered amongst the works produced during Van Dyck's prolific and highly successful 'second Antwerp period'. The gentleman depicted is known to be Hubert du Hot thanks to prints by Adriaen Lommelin, who engraved the portrait in the same sense, and on the second state included the identification of the sitter (in the third state of the print, the man’s head was actually replaced, and identified as the engraver Schulte Adams Bolswert). A painted copy of the portrait in the Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai, is inscribed: AET . 58 . A . 1632 ., which is an accurate indication of the sitter’s age and a very probable reflection of the original date of execution.2 Du Hot was a French nobleman born in Lille before 13 December 1573 (when he was christened in the church of Sainte-Catherine). He was a 'connétable souverain' (a ministerial post, roughly translatable as 'Grand Officer of the Crown') of the Confraternity of Saint Barbara, and married Marie Baillet, daughter of Robert and Marie Vendeville, with whom he had two children.3
The present work shares many characteristics with Van Dyck's other portraits from this period, particularly in the assured, fluid brushstrokes which characterise the sitter's features and expression. Influenced by techniques he had learned in Italy, Van Dyck started to paint more and more thinly, with a much reduced use of impasto, in more transparent layers of glazes. He has executed the head of the sitter here particularly sympathetically, imbuing Du Hot with a sense of benevolent dignity and shrewd intelligence, not unlike the portrait of Alexander della Faille, today in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.4
When Van Dyck returned to Antwerp from his trip to Italy in 1627 his reputation was such that demand for his work had increased substantially, particularly for portraiture, resulting in an extraordinary level of output during these five years. Van Dyck was famed for his speed of execution, but he also employed a number of assistants in his studio to expedite the supply of these commissions. As with many other portraits from this time, Van Dyck sketched the head (and probably the hand) of the present sitter from life, directly onto the canvas, before his studio worked up the background and drapery. Van Dyck himself would then have retouched and finished these areas, completed the likeness, and added such details as the ruff. Indeed, one can see the penumbra around du Hot's head, indicative of where Van Dyck's initial sketch of the head and the background colour meet, as well as the development of the artist’s thought process in having changed his mind from picturing du Hot in a flat collar – just visible below the paint surface – to having him wear the finely-pleated ruff, brought to life with rapid, deft brushstrokes to create a convincing sense of volume. In the 2004 publication, Horst Vey speculated as to whether the sitter's single hand protruding from his clothing might originally have been intended to rest on a support, such as the arm of a chair, or the handle of a sword, which may be hidden beneath his cape.
This work is first recorded in the collection of Sir Andrew Fountaine, collector and amateur architect, at Narford Hall, Norfolk, where it remained for over 100 years. In his account of his visit to Narford, Waagen described the present portrait as 'very life-like' – a tribute as pertinent then as it is today.
1 Written correspondence from Dr Susan J. Barnes, 17 July 2015; Dr Malcolm Rogers, 12 October 2017; and Professsor Christopher Brown, 13 November 2017.
2 Oil on canvas, 107 x 93 cm.; inv. no. 197: https://www.pop.culture.gouv.fr/notice/joconde/06190001227
3 D. du Péage, Recueil de généalogies Lilloises. Mémoires de la Société d'Études de la Province de Cambrai, vol. 2, Lille 1907, pp. 534–35.