DUTCH SCHOOL, CIRCA 1630 | A portrait of a young boy, full-length, wearing a green hat, coral beads and a white frill collar, and holding a baton and a hobby horse
Estimate: 8,000 - 12,000 GBP
DUTCH SCHOOL, CIRCA 1630
A PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY, FULL-LENGTH, WEARING A GREEN HAT, CORAL BEADS AND A WHITE FRILL COLLAR, AND HOLDING A BATON AND A HOBBY HORSE
oil on oak panel, en silhouette
unframed: 95.2 x 62.5 cm.; 37½ x 24⅝ in.
framed: 116.9 x 91.2 cm.; 46 x 36 in.
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The panel cutout is flat and stable, with a relatively clean surface and a very slightly discoloured varnish. There are a few minor surface scuffs and scratches visible, notably at the top of the boy's hat, in the horse, and by his upper right hip. Two vertical splits are visible starting along the lower margin and extending upwards to either side of his torso both approx. 52 cm. long, and there is a further vertical split starting in his proper right armpit and extending to the top of his ruff approx. 17 cm. long. These all have associated visible retouchings. Inspection under ultraviolet light confirms this, and reveals further retouching: scattered along the brim of his hat as well as fine lines which follow the wood grain within it, fine lines and small spots scattered in his face and proper right hand, notably below his proper right eye, in his chin, and to a small repaired damage below his ear approx. 1 x 1 cm., and small spots scattered in his ruff, the horse's body and face, as well as its front legs, and in the rest of the boy's attire, notably to two spots in the green cloth just above his shoe, the largest of which measures 2 x 2cm. The painting is in overall fairly good condition.
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 provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour 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 because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Anonymous sale, Masham, The Magellan Centre, 20 November 2016, lot 88.
The present work, painted in circa 1630, is an example of a 'dummy board' or 'silent companion' - painted panels whose edges follow the outline of the figure, enormously popular during the 17th century and onwards. These works were displayed without a frame and the trompe l'œil painting style was meant to fool viewers into thinking that the flat panel was a real figure.
From the mid-16th century until the late 19th or early 20th century, young boys in the Western world were unbreeched and wore gowns or dresses until an age that varied between two and eight. There are often clues however that allude to the child's gender - in this case the hobby horse, a toy that at the time was only considered appropriate for boys.