Completed Continental European before 1800, Portraits: British 16th and 17th C 11 Could this be a portrait of François Van Der Ee, Lord of Meise?

An Unknown Man in a Ruff
Topic: Subject or sitter

The etching by Johannes Meyssens shows a very similar looking sitter. A work in the Lviv Art Gallery in Ukraine suggests this too could be a portrait of the same sitter. Finally, anther portrait, which is in a private collection, looks to be again the same sitter, and is even closer to this portrait.

Links to the other images.

Peter Harrison, Entry reviewed by Art UK

1 attachment

Completed, Outcome

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Osmund Bullock,

This piece by Svitlana Stets, a curator/researcher at the Lviv National Art Gallery, says that their 'Rubens' work had by 2012 already been re-attributed to van Dyck and also identified as being van der Ee. I'm not wholly convinced that it is the original of the Myssens print, but it may be. The third one you mention "in a private collection" is I think just a rather poor copy of the Lviv painting (or another version of it) - is that the date '1846' on the right?

I can't, though, see our (NT/Cobbe Collection) sitter being the same man at all. A wise and experienced head observed here during a long and inconclusive C17th portrait thread** a year or so ago, that there is seldom much point in a "looks-like" approach to portraiture without documentation or other supporting evidence - and that becomes truer the further back in time you go. I don't think the faces of the two men look enough alike to make a convincing case; but that is just my subjective visual opinion, and Peter will doubtless disagree.

However, it is sometimes possible for a clear and simple physical detail to rule someone out: surely our sitter's *very* red hair (and beard) means he cannot possibly be the dark-brown-haired man in the Lviv portrait?

** . I suspect the memory of that exhausting marathon may be restraining people's interest in this thread - it certainly did mine!

Jacinto Regalado,

I tend to think this is not autograph van Dyck, at least not entirely, and possibly not at all. I do not have the Yale van Dyck catalogue at hand, so can someone who does tell us what it says about this piece?

Jacinto Regalado,

To answer my question from 8 months ago, the van Dyck catalogue raisonné by Barnes et al. (Yale Press) does not include a picture that matches this one, not even as a source or model for a lesser copy (which I thought this might be).

It does include several portraits of men in similar format and dress from van Dyck's second Antwerp period (c. 1627-32), but they are all clearly superior to ours. One of them is below (although the prime version is apparently in Dresden):

Another point is that the medal or coin-like full profile format is unusual for van Dyck. Only one of the aforementioned portraits uses it, and the collar in that picture is completely different.

Jacinto Regalado,

While I do not presume to be an expert, and someone like Bendor Grosvenor would know better, I cannot believe this picture is autograph van Dyck. It is waxen and stiff, and not especially accomplished technically, albeit competent.

Jacinto Regalado,

For what it's worth, I could not find the Lviv portrait discussed above in the van Dyck catalogue raisonné, and while at least the face is better or more van Dyck-like than in the Hatchlands picture, I would want someone like Susan Barnes to confirm the attribution.

Jacinto Regalado,

Since the van Dyck attribution is not supported by the standard catalogue raisonné of his oeuvre, that needs to be addressed, as it is rather more important than the identity of the sitter. I would suggest asking the opinion of a suitable expert, as has been done before with a van Dyck attribution.

Marcie Doran,

I'm assuming that this portrait in the Cobbe Collection was lot 35 in the Bonham's auction of July 5, 2017. The catalogue includes a great deal of valuable information about the portrait.

Here is another portrait that might have been part of that commission.

An article from 1938 includes an image of this portrait "courtesy of Messrs. Thomas Agnew and Sons". The title was "Portrait of a Young Man'. See the 'Illustrated London News' of Saturday, May 21, 1938. I have attached a composite.

Jacinto Regalado,

Yes, Marcie, the Bohnhams picture certainly appears to be the Cobbe portrait. The Bonhams text is notable for stating a van Dyck expert, Erik Larsen, rejected this as a van Dyck, and that another expert, Sir Oliver Millar, ultimately did not include it in his van Dyck monograph. Obviously, Barnes et al. did not include it in their catalogue raisonné, either.

The purported connection to the c. 1630 series of portrait busts which I alluded to in my second comment is not convincing. As Bonhams notes, the Cobbe portrait is larger and on a different medium, and its quality, as I previously mentioned, is clearly not on the same level as the others, including the one in the Royal Collection linked in your comment.

In my opinion, admittedly not an expert one, the current van Dyck attribution is very questionable, not to say unsustainable. Yes, one could say it is in his vein, albeit relatively waxen and lifeless, and positing that it is autograph work is quite implausible. I expect we will have to wait for the arrival of Bendor Grosvenor's replacement for a resolution.

Jacinto Regalado,

As for the sitter's identity, the inscription AR Schutt (see the Bonhams link), apparently a Flemish magistrate, certainly needs to be considered. I do not see sufficient resemblance to the Meyssens print to make its subject a strong candidate; the eyes especially seem unlike, as does the hair to a lesser degree.