Photo credit: Museums Sheffield
Berchem painted many compositions of this type. It does not seem to be of sufficient quality to be an original work by Berchem.
This discussion is now closed. The painting has been recorded as a copy after Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem (1620–1683). The recommended enhancement to the title has been emailed to the collection, which is currently without a curator, for consideration later.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.
Alistair Brown of Art UK has added: 'You may be interested that a version of the composition appeared at Christie's in 2004 https://bit.ly/3zBhnx1. Checking RKD, the composition also appeared in reverse at an auction in Vienna in 2011 https://bit.ly/2S6Kk30. For reference, the version sold in Vienna is now here https://bit.ly/3zAGsYV.' [It has now been accepted by the Collection as after Berchem, but they wished to see a public discussion to try to find out more]
Apologies again, the last link picked up a full stop by mistake: this link should work https://bit.ly/3zAGsYV
I think the question posed has been answered by print evidence.
The original questions has certainly been answered. As far as can be ascertained from the image provided, the Sheffield painting would appear to be a copy after Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem (1620–1683). It was possibly, or even probably, based on the engraving by Jean-Jacques Aliamet of c.1750 after the original painting then belonging to Marc-René de Voyer, Marquis d'Argenson. The Sheffield panel is almost exactly the same size as the print (they are respectively 24.8 x 34.3 and 27.9 x 33.2 cm, the latter including the lettered area beneath the image). Information given on the print indicates that it is the same size as the original painting. This means that the Sheffield picture is about the same size as the original, irrespective of whether or not the print provided the basis for the copy.
I suggest that the title of our painting could be enhanced. The title given to the print was in translation 'The Meeting of (the) two Village Women' and a record of this should of course be retained. However, subject to comment, a more fully descriptive title might be preferable -- perhaps along the lines of 'Mountainous Landscape with Figures, Cattle and Donkeys'.
Following your excellent summary, which Frances agrees with, could you recommend the update to Art UK please?
(It always feels odd asking, but probably no one else is aware that my view of the interface tells me whether a group leader has simply commented or made a formal recommendation to Art UK and the collection to alter a record).
Liz Waring has left Museums Sheffield and there's still no word about her successor. I've updated the attribution to 'copy after', but a decision on the title will have to wait. This may take a while, so I'll close the discussion when I hear from you and email them your suggestion.
Richard, Xanthe is very happy with your summary and has given us the dates of the Marquis d'Argenson (1722–1822).
Further to my summary of 31/07/2021, I am happy to bring this discussion to a close. The recommendation as to authorship is that the Sheffield painting should be recorded as a copy after Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem (1620–1683). Also recommended is that the present title could be enhanced as 'Mountainous Landscape with Figures, Cattle and Donkeys'.
Thanks are due to Jacinto for finding the engraving of c.1750 and to Xanthe for adding the dates of the owner of the original painting at that time.