Probably Petronella de la Court (widow of Adam Oortmans), her sale, Amsterdam, 19 October 1707, lot 20 or 34 (with pendant);
The Duc de Choiseul (1719-1785), by 1771,
His sale, Paris, 6 April 1772, lot 75 (with pendant), for 3,900 livres to the Prince de Conti;
The Prince de Conti (1717-1776), his (deceased) sale, 8 April-6 June 1777, lot 433 (with pendant), for 4,950 livres to Desmarest;
Anonymous sale, Paris, Delessert, 15 March 1869, lot 31, for 16,500 francs;
Henry Say, his sale, Paris, 30 November 1908, lot 11, for 22,500 francs;
J. Simon, Berlin;
With Asscher and Koetser, Amsterdam, 1920;
Baron Thyssen, Rohoncz Castle, Hungary, by 1930, and then transferred in 1932 to Villa Favorita, his property in Lugano, Switzerland. The painting appears in the 1937 catalogue as no. 187. From 1937 to 1952 there were no catalogues produced for the collection, and the present work does not appear in the 1952 publication; it therefore left the collection some time between 1937 and 1952;
With Dennis Vandekar Gallery, 1967;
Fom whom acquired by the father of the present owners.
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné..., London 1834, Part V, p. 378, cat. no. 23;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné..., London 1927, p. 354, cat. no. 83;
H. Dattenberg, Niederrheinansichten holländischer Künstler des 17. Jahrhunderts, Dusseldorf 1967, no. 244;
H. Wagner, Jan van der Heyden, Amsterdam and Haarlem 1971, p. 90, no. 102, reproduced, as in a private collection, England;
J. Ingamells, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Pictures, Dutch and Flemish, vol. IV, London 1992, pp. 145 and 146 (note 5), under cat. no. P195.
By George Petit, in 'Recueil d'Estampes d'après les tableaux de Monsieur Le Duc de Choiseul', Paris 1771, no. 76.
This is a relatively early work by Van der Heyden, displaying the characteristics of pictures produced in the early 1660s, with its light, airy tonality and the absence of strong shadows. It has strong parallels with the View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam, signed and indistinctly dated - probably 1660 - in the National Gallery, London (see N. MacLaren and C. Brown, The National Gallery Catalogues - The Dutch School 1600-1800, London 1991, vol. I, p. 557, vol. II, supplement plate B), which also has a similar dry, minute execution, a rather bleached palette and shadowless spaces, and probably pre-dates the Architectural Capriccio, signed and dated 1663, in the Harold Samuel Collection, Guildhall, London (see P.C. Sutton, Dutch and Flemish seventeenth-century paintings. The Harold Samuel collection, Cambridge 1992, pp. 84-86, cat. no. 27, reproduced in colour).
The present picture has a most distinguished 18th-century provenance and formed part of the celebrated collection of Dutch cabinet pictures of the Duc de Choiseul, Louis XV's Minister of War and Foreign Affairs, and subsequently that of another leading figure at the French court, the Prince de Conti, whose substantial collection was dispersed following his death in 1776. At this time the painting was paired with a Street scene in Cologne but the two pictures became separated before 1802, the Cologne view subsequently entering the Wallace collection in London (inv. no. P195). Although they are of identical dimensions, it seems unlikely that the pictures - one seemingly imaginary, the other in large part topographically accurate - were conceived as pendants.
Another version of the composition of almost identical size but with different staffage is in the Buccleuch collection at Drumlanrig Castle (see H. Wagner, Jan van der Heyden, Amsterdam and Haarlem 1971, p. 90, no. 103). The staffage in the present work has traditionally been attributed to Adriaen van de Velde but is more likely to be by Van der Heyden himself.
We are grateful to Peter Sutton for endorsing the attribution to Van der Heyden, following first-hand inspection, and for suggesting a date in the early 1660s. Dr Sutton will include the picture in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's works (currently in preparation).
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