Dulwich Picture Gallery II



Amersfoort, c. 1656–Rome, after 1716
Dutch painter

Jacob van Staverden is also known as Jacob van Staveren.1 It seems that until 1672 he was a pupil of Matthias Withoos (c. 1627–1703), the Amersfoort painter of still lifes and Italianate landscapes. In 1674 (probably in the spring) he went to Italy with a fellow pupil, Caspar van Wittel (c. 1653–1736). On 3 January 1675 they witnessed the baptism of a new member of the ‘Bentvueghels’ (Birds of a Feather), a group of Dutch and Flemish artists in Rome, and signed with their own Bentvueghel nicknames: Van Wittel was ‘de Toorts van Amersfoort’ (the Torch of Amersfoort) and Van Staverden ‘IJver van Amersfoort’ (the Zeal of Amersfoort). Van Wittel became a very famous painter of vedute of Rome; Van Staverden was less successful with his still lifes of flowers and fruit, according to the 18th-century biographer Van Gool, and none is known today. He appears to have been back in Amersfoort in 1686 and 1687, but in 1689 and 1693–4 he was in Rome again, in the same house as Van Wittel. In 1694 he stopped painting and became a member of the Papal Guard.

A few bambocciate scenes by Van Staverden survive, often including a still life and a woman with a guitar or other stringed instrument. His only dated painting is Return from the Hunt, of 1674 (Related works, no. 1) [1].

Gudlaugsson 1956–7; Trezzani 1983c; Heijenga-Klomp 1991; Van der Willigen & Meijer 2003, p. 189; Ecartico, no. 7067: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/7067 (April 2, 2018; as Jacob van Staveren, alias Staverden); RKDartists&, no. 74764: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/74764 (April 2, 2018).

Jacob van Staverden
Return from the hunt, dated 1674
canvas, oil paint 66 x 50,5 cm
lower left : J v Staveren fec. 1674
Brussels, Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, inv./cat.nr. 4152

Attributed to Jacob van Staverden
DPG20 – Landscape with Figures

c. 1670–94; copper, 20.4 x 30 cm

?Desenfans sale 8 April 1786 (Lugt 4022), lot 346;2 Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 31, no. 330 (‘Unhung / no. 61, Sportsman & female in landse. do. [= & buildings] Cop[per] F Mola’; 1'4" x 1'6").

Cat. 1817, p. 6, no. 83 (‘FIRST ROOM – East Side; Sportsman and Female Figures; Jan Miel’); Haydon 1817, p. 377, no. 83 (Jan Miel);3 Cat. 1820, p. 6, no. 83; Cat. 1830, no. 21 (Jan Miel); Jameson 1842, ii, p. 446, no. 21 (Jan Miel);4 Denning 1858 and 1859, no. 21 (‘not like the work of Jan Miel’);5 Sparkes 1876, p. 97, no. 21 (ascribed to Miel); Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 96, no. 21 (Miel);6 Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 5, no. 20; Cook 1914, p. 14, no. 20; Cook 1926, p. 14; Cat. 1953, p. 28; Kren 1980, ii, pp. 211–12, no. D57 (possibly Antoine Goubau); Murray 1980a, p. 83 (doubtful about the attribution to Miel);7 Murray 1980b, p. 19; Trezzani 1983a, p. 295, note 3 (not by Goubau; close to Sébastien Bourdon and circle of the Maestro dei Mestieri); Beresford 1998, p. 115 (attributed to Goubau); Tieze 2004, pp. 27–8, 164–5, no. C10 (possibly circle of Jacob van Staveren; not later than 1640s); Dejardin 2009b, pp. 20–21 (Goubau); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 234–5 (attributed to Jacob van Staverden); RKD, no. 289025: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/en/images/289025 (April 7, 2018).

attributed to Jacob van Staverden
Landscape with Figures, c. 1670-1694
copper, oil paint 20,4 x 30 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG20

The panel has an undulating surface from the hand preparation of the copper plate. The ground is warm red-brown. The copper support is slightly buckled in the lower left corner. The paint layers have been well preserved with only tiny flake losses and minor small damages. There has been some pigment change in the woman’s orange dress and in the blue foliage group in the lower right corner. Previous recorded treatment: 1867, ‘revived’ and revarnished; 1953, cleaned and restored and frame re-gilded, Dr Hell; 2008 cleaned and restored, N. Ryder.

1) Jacob van Staverden, Return from the Hunt, signed and dated J v Staveren fec. 1674, canvas, 66 x 50.5 cm. KMSKB, Brussels, 4152 [1].8
2a) Anton Goubau, Village Musician, signed A. gebau F., c. 1645, panel, 50 x 75 cm. Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1041 [2].9
2b. Attributed to Anton Goubau, Before an Inn, panel, 51 x 44 cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg.10
2c. Attributed to Anton Goubau, A Bivouac of Soldiers, copper, 22.5 x 33 cm. Pallavicini Gallery, Rome, 309.11
2d. Anton Goubau, Merry Company in a Military Camp, signed Ao. GOVBAV. F., panel, 35.5 x 47 cm. National Gallery, Prague, O. 200 [3].12
3a. Sébastien Bourdon, Rest of the Soldiers (formerly incorrectly Rest of the Bohemians), panel, 43 x 58 cm. Louvre, Paris, 2818 [4].13
3b. Sébastien Bourdon, The Card Players, also called Camp Scene, Rest of the Soldiers, signed and dated bonvijn / 1643, panel, 36.5 x 50 cm. Staatliche Museen, Kassel, GK 471 [5].14
3c. Attributed to Sébastien Bourdon, Soothsayer at an Inn, panel, 44 x 60 cm. Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed, Rijswijk [6].15
4a. Attributed to Jacob van Staverden, Couple with a Dog, copper, 10 x 12 cm (oval). Present whereabouts unknown (Rafael Valls, London, 1990; Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 22 May 1989, lot 1) [7].16
4b. Attributed to Jacob van Staverden, Hunters resting, copper, 50 x 29.6 cm. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (Palazzo Corsini), Rome, 119 [8].17
4c. Attributed to Jacob van Staverden, Orpheus and the Animals, copper, 19 cm (round). Present whereabouts unknown (John Mitchell, London; Christie’s, 25 April 2008, lot 4) [9].18
5) Attributed to Michael Sweerts, A Couple and a Boy in a Garden, canvas, 33.7 x 48.8 cm. Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass., purchase Charlotte E. W. Buffington Fund, no. 1961.40 [10].19

Anton Goubau
Village musician, c. 1645
panel, oil paint 50 x 75 cm
lower right : 'A. gebau F.'
Florence, Palazzo Pitti, inv./cat.nr. 1890 n. 1041

Anton Goubau
Merry company in a military camp
panel (oak), oil paint 35,5 x 47 cm
lower right : Ao. GOVBAV. F.
Prague, Národní Galerie v Praze, inv./cat.nr. O 200

Sébastien Bourdon
Rest of the Soldiers
panel, oil paint 43 x 58 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre, inv./cat.nr. 2818

Sébastien Bourdon
Cardplayers, dated 1643
panel, oil paint 36,5 x 50 cm
upper left : bonvijn / 1643
Kassel (Hessen), Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, inv./cat.nr. GK 471; (1749).145

The scene depicts a huntsman reloading his gun in a landscape. He is silhouetted against the sky. Next to him a woman sits on the ground, holding the neck of a lute. To the left is the hunter’s dog, and in the background a village dominated by a castle stands out against an Italian (?) plain. This enigmatic painting would seem to have some sort of allegorical or symbolic intent regarding the natures of men and women, but has so far eluded explanation.

The attribution has been highly controversial. Britton in 1813 ascribed it to Pier Francesco Mola (1612–66), an Italian 17th-century artist who specialized in history painting. The name the Dulwich catalogues mention, since the first one published by Cockburn in 1817, is Jan Miel (1599–1664), although Denning in 1858 and 1859 and Murray in 1980 expressed their doubts. In his 1978 monograph on Miel Thomas Kren rejected the attribution, in favour of the Flemish artist Anton Goubau (1616–98). He noted that the facial type of the woman is similar to that of a young peasant woman in Goubau’s signed Village Musician (Related works, no. 2a) [2], while the drapery and clothing are similar to those in a work that he attributes to Goubau (Related works, no. 2b). Another signed work by Goubau shows some similarities in figure types (Related works, no. 2d) [3], but the still life on the right places the artist in the tradition of David Teniers II (1610–90). Kren notes that the main characters in a picture in Rome which he also attributed to Goubau (Related works, no. 2c) are a similar male and a girl holding a stringed instrument. He has continued to maintain the attribution to Goubau, a judgement supported by David A. Levine.20

Other Goubau scholars, however, do not agree with the attribution. Trezzani suggested similarities to the work of the French painter Sébastien Bourdon (1616–71) and the Roman Maestro dei Mestieri (Master of the Small Trades), who was active in Rome c. 1645–50.21 It is known that Goubau and Bourdon collaborated in Paris on bambocciate pictures.22 There are strong similarities to DPG20 in at least three paintings now ascribed to Bourdon (Related works, nos 3a–3c), for instance the dog in a painting in the Louvre (Related works, no. 3a) [4] and the female protagonist in The Soothsayer at an Inn (Related works, no. 3c) [6]. However, as these are all attributions, they may well be by an artist other than Bourdon.

Another suggestion was made by Peter Sutton: DPG20 might be by Jacob van Staveren (or Staverden), who was active some decades later than the artists mentioned so far; Sutton cites a similar composition attributed to that artist (Related works, no. 4a) [7]. More recently, Agnes Tieze in her monograph on Goubau rejected the attribution to him and suggested ‘circle of Van Staveren’.23 Only one signed painting by Van Staveren or Staverden is known (Related works, no. 1) [1], so his œuvre is entirely based on stylistic attributions. Among those pictures there are at least two that look like DPG20 – a painting in Rome (Related works, no. 4b) [8], of which a copy exists in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and a roundel with Orpheus and the Animals (Related works, no. 4c) [9].

To complicate matters, a picture ascribed to Michael Sweerts (1618–64) shows a similar girl and silhouetted figure of a man (Related works, no. 5) [10]. It seems that in Rome, Paris and Antwerp a group of artists were painting very similar pictures. We consider that the most plausible author of DPG20 is Jacob van Staverden.

Sébastien Bourdon
Soothsayer at an inn
panel (oak), oil paint 44 x 60 cm
Amersfoort/Rijswijk, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, inv./cat.nr. NK 2180

attributed to Jacob van Staverden
Couple with a dog
copper, oil paint 10 x 12 cm
London, art dealer Rafael Valls Limited

attributed to Jacob van Staverden
Hunters resting
copper, oil paint 50 x 29,6 cm
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica - Palazzo Corsini, inv./cat.nr. 119

attributed to Jacob van Staverden
Orpheus and the Animals, after 1674
copper, oil paint 18,6 x 18,6 cm
Christie's (London (England)) 2008-04-25, nr. 4

attributed to Michael Sweerts
Couple and boy in a garden
canvas, oil paint 33,7 x 48,8 cm
Worcester (Massachusetts), Worcester Art Museum (Massachusetts), inv./cat.nr. 1961.40


1 According to the RKD and Heijenga-Klomp 1991 it is ‘Van Staverden’. According to KMSKB, the spelling on his only signed picture is ‘J. van Staveren’ (Related works, no. 1) [1]. However the same gallery calls him on their website ‘Jacob van Staverden’: see https://www.fine-arts-museum.be/nl/de-collectie/jacob-van-staverden-vroegere-toeschrijving-j-van-staveren (July 12, 2020).

2 Murray 1980a, p. 83, no. 20 (perhaps). GPID (7 July 2013): Desenfans sale, 8 April 1786 (Lugt 4022), lot 346: ‘John Miel; Landscape and figures; on copper’, 1'6" x 1'10" (c. 45.7 x 55.9 cm). Those dimensions include the frame, but even so they seem rather large for DPG20.

3 ‘Jan Miel, Sportsman and a Female Figure. The former is loading his gun, and the latter sitting. It is a pleasing little picture.’

4 ‘a dark, indifferent picture’.

5 1858: ‘A good picture, but not like the work of Jan Miel’; 1859: ‘ascribed to Jan Miel […] Though a good picture in many respects, this is not like the usual style of Jan Miel.’

6 ‘Probably portraits of an Italian married couple. The colouring is of an enamel-like effect. A genuine work of the master. Formerly only ascribed to him.’

7 7 ‘There are traces of what may have been Miel’s complicated JM monogram, but they may be accidental. The subject is not quite typical of Miel’s bambocciate – the figures are too well-dressed – and the quality is not as good as in his best works, so the attribution is made with some reservations.’

8 RKD, no. 289137: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289137 (April 13, 2018); KMSKB 1984, p. 283, no. 4152; see also Trezzani 1983c, p. 336 (fig. 15.1).

9 RKD, no. 289148: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289148 (April 13, 2018); Chiarini & Padovani 2003, ii, p. 209, no. 332; Kren 1983, p. 124, note 12.

10 Kren 1980, ii, p. 200–201, no. D32: ‘a fine work by Goubau, probably executed in Antwerp, shortly after his return there from Rome, or c. 1650’.

11 Kren 1980, ii, p. 212, no. D58; Tieze 2004, p. 165, no. C11.

12 RKD, no. 289133: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289133 (April 13, 2018); Slavicĕk 2000, p. 156, no. 141; see also RKD, no. 67796: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/67796 (April 7, 2018), for a copy.

13 RKD, no. 213943: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/213943 (April 7, 2018); Thuillier 2000, p. 192, no. 51.

14 RKD, no. 214520: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/214520 (April 8, 2018); Thuillier 2000, pp. 193–4, no. 52; Schnackenburg 1996a, i, p. 66, no. GK 471, ii, pl. 362.

15 RKD, no. 289172: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289172 (April 27, 2018); Thuillier 2000, p. 194, no. 53; Rosenberg, Jansen & Giltaij 1992, pp. 73–5, no. 6: previous attributions: Jan Lingelbach and Jan Miel.

16 RKD, no. 289130: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289130 (April 13, 2018); letter from Peter Sutton to the Curator, 6 Nov. 1990 (DPG20 file; no further information).

17 RKD, no. 289142: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289142 (April 13, 2018); Senenko 2009, p. 362, no. 4306, a copy after the picture in Rome; for that picture see Carpegna, Kultzen & Lavagnino 1958, pp. 78, 83, no. 93; Gudlaugsson 1956–7, p. 170. See also Trezzani 1983c, p. 338, fig. 15.2.

18 RKD, no. 185795: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/185795 (March 30, 2018); Trezzani 1983c, p. 339, fig. 15.4 (Jacob van Staveren); Kren 1980, ii, p. 220, no. D77 (probably Jacob van Staveren).

19 RKD, no. 289146: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/289146 (April 13, 2018); Jansen & Sutton 2002, pp. 106–7, no. x.

20 Letter from Thomas Kren to Richard Beresford, 8 Aug. 1997 (DPG20 file); email from David A. Levine to Paul Matthews (not found in file 2013), 29 Nov. 2006.

21 In Dutch, Meester van de Kleine Beroepen. This anonymous artist is considered by Kren to be the young Johannes Lingelbach (Kren 1982). See also Laureati 1983a.

22 Kren 1983, p. 123, note 3.

23 Letter from Agnes Tieze to Paul Matthews, 25 Nov. 2005 (DPG20 file).

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