Head of an Old Man (possibly Ephraim Bonus, or Bueno [1599-1665])
Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – Amsterdam 1680)
Oil painting on canvas, Head of an Old Man (Possibly Ephraim Bonus, or Bueno [1599-1665]) by Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – Amsterdam 1680), imitation signature added later, top left: REMBRANDT f'., 1640/60. A half-length figure turned to right facing; thin white beard, moustache and white hair. Dressed in black with cloak thrown over shoulders. Pleated white lawn ruff and white frills at the wrists, large broad brimmed black hat. Seated, resting right arm on chair, and holding his gloves in left hand. Chair upholstered in brownish red leather with brass studs; light falls from the right onto face and hands. Believed to be a portrait of the physician Ephraim Bonus. Bol was perhaps the most fruitful and talented disciple of Rembrandt. It is therefore not surprising that many of his pictures, including this one, passed for works by ths master himself. In this position since at least 1796, it was sold to pay death duties in 1930. With the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, it was possible to acquire it when it was again on the market and restore it to its old position.
Recorded in the house of John Barnard (1709 - 1784), Berkeley Square: London and Environs, vol.I 1761; Martyn, vol.I, 1766 as Ephraim Bonus by Rembrandt; recorded in Kedleston: Duchess of Northumberland, 1766; North Music Room/Music Room: Walpole, 1768; Catalogues, 1769; 1770; Young, 1771; Catalogue, circa 1778; Bray, 1778; State Bed Chamber: Neville, 1781; Music Room: Bray, 1783; Catalogue, circa 1787; Pilkington, 1789; Catalogue, 1789-90; Lipscomb, 1802; Warner; 1802; Britton, 1802; Davies, 1811; Topographer, 1824; Catalogues,1849, 1856, 1861; Hall, 1870; Athenæum, 1874; Hall, 1877; Messrs Christie Manson and Woods, The Scarsdale Heirloom Pictures sale, Friday 18 July 1930, lot 109, (as Rembrandt); sold to Hopkins for Sulley for 19,000 guineas; Art Dealers Van Wisselingh – Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish pictures of the 17th century, Amsterdam, 1932 No:4 (as Rembrandt); M. Knoedler & Co., Catalogue of Loan Exhibition of Rembrandts, New York, 1933, No:4, Private Collection, Rhode Island (as Rembrandt);Christie’s, London, sale, 13th December, 1985, No:75 with illus. (attributed to Ferdinand Bol). Purchased in 1987 by the National Heritage Memorial Fund from Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale (1924-2000). On loan to the National Trust from the National Heritage Memorial Fund 1987-1988. Gifted to the National Trust in 1988 by the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Kedleston Hall, The Scarsdale Collection (acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1987)
Marks and inscriptions
plaque - painted - bottom of frame - text - Dutch School 1608-1669
Makers and roles
Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – Amsterdam 1680), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669), artist
Martyn 1766 Thomas Martyn, English Connoisseur, containing an account of whatever is curious in Painting, Sculpture, &c in the palaces and seats of the Nobility, Royal Society, London, 1766, Vol. I, pp.6-7 Walpole 1927-28 Paget Toynbee (ed.), 'Horace Walpole's Journals of Visits to Country Seats, etc.', 1760-62, Walpole Society XVI, 1927 -28 pp. 9-80, Vol.XVI, 1927, [Sept. 2d 1768], p.64 Young 1771 Arthur Young, The Farmer’s Tour through the East of England. Being The Register of a Journey through various Counties of this Kingdom, to enquire into the State of Agriculture, &c. 4 vols. London, 1771, vol.I, p. 195 Bray 1778 William Bray, Sketch of a Tour into Derbyshire and Yorkshire, 1778, c.1778, p.69: Smith 1829-42 John Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters, 8 vols and supplement, London, 1829-42, 1836 Vol.xii No.352 Anon 1874 “The Private Collections of England. No.X – Kedleston Hall”, The Athenæum, 8 August 1874, no.2441, p. 184: Hofstede de Groot 1907-28 C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, 8 vols., London, 1907-28, vol.vi No.740 Brown, Kelch & van Thiel 1984 Christopher Brown, Jan Kelch & Pieter van Thiel Rembrandt: The Master & his workshop, Yale in assocation with National Gallery Publications, 1984, no. 66, p. 332