Middelburg, baptised 3 May 1609–Middelburg, buried 29 July 1647
Dutch painter and draughtsman
François Ryckhals was rediscovered in 1917 when Bredius managed to decipher the complex monogram of the artist, whose works were previously attributed to Frans Hals II (1618–69).1 François Ryckhals may have studied with Pieter de Bloot (c. 1601–47), a slightly older artist, in Rotterdam. In 1633 and 1634 he was a member of the Dordrecht painters’ guild, but for the remainder of his life he worked in Middelburg. Dated works are known from 1632 to 1645. Ryckhals painted landscapes with Biblical scenes, and also sumptuous still lifes with silver and gold objects or with fruit and fish, often with a seascape in the background. Still lifes in kitchens or barns were also a specialty.
Bredius 1917b; Klinge-Gross 1976, pp. 88–91; Bol 1982, pp. 21–9; Buma 1994; Meijer 1995; Van der Willigen & Meijer 2003, p. 174; Heyning 2018, pp. 62–63; Ecartico, no. 6485: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/6485 (May 1, 2017); RKDartists&, no. 66930:https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/66930 (May 2, 2017).
Attributed to François Ryckhals
DPG515 – Interior of a Barn
1630–47; canvas, 52 x 65.1 cm
Companion piece of DPG516
Cartwright Bequest, 1686 (no. 26, £5, ‘Thre duch men on with a Juge in his hand taking a pipe of Tobacco, & 2 men Looking on him, a Lather, a Barrell, a cherne, a kittell, a Lanthorne, & other things in it, on 3 quarters clout pasted on a bourd in a gilt fram’).
Sparkes & Carver 1890, p. 42, no. 101; Richter & Sparkes 1892, p. 141, no. 101; Richter & Sparkes 1905, p. 143, no. 101; Cook 1914, p. 257, no. 515 (A Dutch Interior; Artist unknown); Cook 1926, p. 277, no. 515; Cat. 1953, p. 48; Murray 1980a, p. 303 (Dutch School); Beresford 1998, p. 296; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 315 (Dutch School); RKD, no. 281862: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/281862 (May 2, 2017).
London 1987–8, pp. 21, 65, no. 57 (N. Kalinsky; Dutch School).
Plain-weave linen canvas. Glue-paste lined; the canvas is coming away from the lining at the lower right side. The paint film is extremely thin and worn and there are old retouchings. Partial, unsuccessful cleaning of the darkened and very shiny varnish is visible in the cauldron and barrel. This painting is the pair of DPG516. Previous recorded treatment: 1952–5, partial cleaning, Dr Hell.
attributed to François Ryckhals
Interior of a barn, 1630-1647
canvas, oil paint 52 x 65,1 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG515
Attributed to François Ryckhals
DPG516 – Interior of a Barn
1630–47; canvas, 52.4 x 64.8 cm
Companion piece of DPG515
Cartwright Bequest, 1686 (no. 27, £5, 'a duchman in a Red wascot taking tabacco a fire before him, A parsell of kettells, cherns & earthing picherds in 3 quarters clouth in a gilt frame').
Sparkes & Carver 1890, p. 42, no. 102; Richter & Sparkes 1892, p. 141, no. 102; Richter & Sparkes 1905, p. 143, no. 102; Cook 1914, p. 258, no. 516 (A Dutch Interior; Artist Unknown); Cook 1926, p. 277, no. 516; Cat. 1953, p. 48; Murray 1980a, p. 303 (Dutch School); Beresford 1998, p. 296; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 315 (Dutch School); RKD, no. 282049: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/282049 (May 2, 2017).
London 1987–8, pp. 21, 65, no. 58 (N. Kalinsky; Dutch School).
Plain-weave linen canvas. Glue-paste lined. The paint layers are thin and rather abraded and there is much overpaint. A thick, uneven, shiny and worn coating of very dark varnish obscures the image. This work is paired with DPG515. Previous recorded treatment: 1952–5, semi-cleaned in foreground, Dr Hell.
RELATED WORKS DPG515/6
1) Herman Saftleven, A Barn Interior with a Still Life of Everyday Objects, signed and dated h. saft.Leven.f.1635, panel, 42.5 x 61.6 cm. Present whereabouts unknown (Johnny Van Haeften, London, 2010) .2
2) Claes Jansz. Visscher, Sorght voor de koele wijn niet (Don't provide the cool wine), illustration in Roemer Visscher, Sinnepoppen, Amsterdam 1614, p. 32 .3
3) François Ryckhals, Sleeping Boy in a Shed, signed and dated FSRHALS 1640, panel, 36.3 x 32.2 cm. MH, The Hague, 929 .4
4) François Ryckhals, Interior of a Farmhouse with a Still Life, panel, 38 x 50 cm. Private collection, Middelburg .5
DPG515 and DPG516 form a pair of pictures of a type often found in 17th-century Netherlandish art, with still lifes of domestic objects such as pots and pans in the foreground and lower-class figures in the background, sometimes set in taverns. Such scenes exercised the talents of, amongst others, Adriaen Brouwer (1603/5–38), Adriaen van Ostade (1610–85), Willem Kalf (1619–93), and David Teniers the Younger (1610–90).6 It is not clear who started the genre. François Ryckhals was proposed by Bredius in 1917, but that was based on the misinterpretation of the date on a still life in Sweden.7 Haak suggested that Ryckhals introduced the genre of the stable interior with a strong still life character.8 Herman Saftleven II (c. 1609–85), otherwise known as a landscapist, seems to be a better candidate (Related works, no. 1) .9 There is probably an initial connection between this genre and one of the emblems by Claes Jansz. Visscher (c. 1587–1652) in Roemer Visscher’s Sinnepoppen of 1614, with household utensils (Related works, no. 2) .10 The meaning of that print and its text was to warn newlyweds to concentrate first on the food and objects that are necessary in a household; once that is secure, then one can turn to frivolous things such as wine. Whether that meaning was associated with the two Dulwich pictures, by the artist or by the clients, is unknown.
There has been considerable debate about the authorship of the pair, which have remained largely unpublished.11 Christopher Brown proposed Arent or Abraham Diepraam (1622–70), a Rotterdam artist, or Egbert van Heemskerck I (1634–1704), who had worked in London, some of whose paintings were in Cartwright’s collection.12 However in their pictures the still lifes seem to be subordinate to the figures, while here it is the other way round. J. Nieuwstraten of the RKD proposed a follower of Cornelis Saftleven (1607–81), the brother of Herman; Nicola Kalinsky noted similarities in the extremely uneven œuvre of Pieter de Bloot, possibly the master of Ryckhals; and Guido Jansen suggested Hendrick Martensz. Sorgh (c. 1609/11–70).13 All of these artists, however, are considerably superior to the author of DPG515 and DPG516. It is tempting to speculate that these may be English pictures in a Dutch style, by someone such as Egbert van Heemskerck II (c. 1666/86–1744), although no still lifes by him are known. It is perhaps significant that they are unattributed in Cartwright’s inventory, though examples of the work of Heemskerck I were in his collection.
We think the attribution to Ryckhals is more convincing, when we compare DPG515 and DPG516 with two very similar works by that artist (Related works, nos 3 and 4) [3-4].
attributed to François Ryckhals
Interior of a barn with burning fire, 1630-1647
canvas, oil paint 52,4 x 64,8 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG516
Still life of everyday objects in a barn, dated 1635
panel, oil paint 42,5 x 61,6 cm
lower left : h.saft.Leven.f.1635
London, art dealer Johnny Van Haeften (London), inv./cat.nr. 34 (Cat. SEVENTEEN, 2009)
Claes Jansz. Visscher
Don't provide the cool wine, 1614
paper, engraving, letterpress print 95 x 60 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. BI-1893-3539-38
Sleeping boy in a shed, dated 1640
panel, oil paint 36,3 x 32,2 cm
The Hague, Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, inv./cat.nr. 929
Interior of a Farmhouse with a Still Life, 1622-1647
panel, oil paint 38 x 50 cm
1 Bredius 1917b, p. 1.
2 Van Haeften 2009, n.p., no. 34 (P. Mason); TEFAF 2010; email from Johnny Van Haeften to Hettie Ward, 26 Sept. 2013 (DPG515–6 file): the picture was sold a couple of years ago. RKD, no. 209816: https://rkd.nl/nl/explore/images/209816.
6 Based on an undated note by Anne Thackray (DPG515/516 file). For Kalf see Giltaij 2006.
7 Bredius 1917b gave it as 1628, but Hofstede de Groot read 1638: see Klinge-Gross 1976, pp. 88–9 (fig. 38).
8 Haak 1984, pp. 407–8.
9 Klinge-Gross 1976, pp. 90–91; James 1994, p. 134.
10 As suggested by Klinge-Gross 1976, p. 89 (fig. 39).
11 Undated note by Anne Thackray (DPG515/516 file).
12 Kalinsky & Waterfield 1987, p. 21, Cartwright inventory, nos 23 and 24. None of his Heemskercks made it to the Dulwich collection.
13 Undated note by Anne Thackray (DPG515/516 file).