Forward Continental European before 1800, Dress and Textiles, Portraits: British 16th and 17th C 14 Who painted this early 17th-century Flemish portrait?

Portrait of a Burgomaster's Wife
Topic: Artist

Who is the artist of this portrait of Cécile Scroots (née van Vorssen, b.1584), wife of Henrik Schroots (d.1629) of Sint-Truiden, whose portrait is in the same collection?

‘Portrait of a Burgomaster (Henri or Henrik Scroots or Schroots, d.1629)’

Andrew Greg, British 19th C, except portraits, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Martin Hopkinson,

An artist of the generation of Frans Pourbus the Younger? Sint-Truiden is in Limburg in the Flemish part of the modern day Belgium,

Jacinto Regalado,

This picture should probably be classified as Flemish School as opposed to Dutch, as is currently the case. The same would apply to its companion portrait in the same collection.

Kieran Owens,

Was this question not dealt with in detail in a previous discussion on the companion piece to this work?

Jacinto Regalado,

Since both pictures are by the same hand, I assumed the question was not previously dealt with or it would not have been brought up again.

Louis Musgrove,

What a dreadful left hand !! Obviously the painter used an optical device and had a bit of a parallax error.The right hand on the Burgomeister is better. Perhaps paintings done in a studio by several people.Drapes /background/clothes/Faces etc.

Kieran Owens,

Jacinto, you are quite correct. It was the identity of the subjects that had previously been discussed an resolved. Please accept my apologies.

Louis Musgrove,

Just to start the ball rolling-perhaps the artist could be Werner van der Valkert-- lived about the right time and is known to do Burgermeisters. ???????

Jacinto Regalado,

No problem, Kieran.

Returning to the question at hand, both portraits are perfectly competent but stolid and relatively workmanlike for the period, without any special distinction. I do not think they are quite up to the level of van der Valckert (who was Dutch, not Flemish).

Marcie Doran,

An older discussion but the portrait is so beautifully crafted that I thought I’d try to solve the mystery. It is just a suggestion!

I think this work is by Paulus Moreelse (Utrecht, 1571 - Utrecht, 1638). His painting “Johanna Martens”, from 1625, at the Museo del Prado ( has many similarities including: the sitter (the hair, the pose with one hand on a table, the depiction of the white lace at collar and cuffs, similar rings, bracelet on sitter’s right hand draped at a similar angle) and the background (coat of arms, corner of room with two colours of paint (beige and brown), table covered in cloth, luxurious curtain).

The Art UK work could be from the same year - the sitter appears to be much older than Johanna Martens - her face is blotchy and reddish - but the clothing seem to me to date from the same time period. The notes under the Prado portrait make for interesting reading.

I have attached a composite for ease of comparison.

Jacinto Regalado,

While it may not be out of the question, Marcie, I do not think it is the same hand. Moreelse apparently had a more refined style.

Osmund Bullock,

As your comparison shows, Marcie (even at this poor resolution), our work is by a noticeably less skilled and cultivated hand. You tend to be (in my view) rather over-influenced by similarities in pose, setting, dress and accoutrements - they are the same because that was the fashion at the time. One way of being more objective is to concentrate on small areas in isolation - can you see how relatively crude the face, the hands, and the handling of the dress fabric are in our portrait by comparison with the Moreelse? The composition is also very cramped (though this is partly because it was created as part of a pair, and it's possible it's been reduced) - this and the panel (not canvas) support hark back to earlier traditions, and suggest an unsophisticated provincial artist not up to date with modern trends. In truth I suspect there is little point in looking for a match among the better portraits of top-flight painters in great collections.

You brought up elsewhere your method of making image comparisons. My problem with it is that you seem to end up with images of unnecessarily low resolution compared with their sources - not helpful if you're trying to look at paintings in detail. I'm re-attaching a version of your comparison at a slightly higher resolution - still not great, but at least it can be enlarged to some extent before beginning to pixellate.

1 attachment
Jacinto Regalado,

Our picture looks like the dress was painted by a more accomplished hand than the face and hands. Did the Dutch have drapery painters at this time?

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