Christ and the Woman of Samaria at the Well
circle of Adriaen van Stalbemt (Antwerp 1580 – Antwerp 1662)
The scene is taken from the biblical Gospel according to John (4:1-30). The woman from Samaria, a town whose inhabitants the Jews considered outcasts, was the first person to whom Christ revealed himself as the Messiah, thus demonstrating that his mission of love and forgiveness was for all humanity. The Samarian woman has drawn water from Jacob’s Well and encounters Christ who has paused at midday on his way from Judaea to Galilee and asked her for a drink. As an adulteress, with five husbands and living with another man and ostracised by her own people, she was astonished but Christ said: "Everyone who drinks the water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I shall give him will never suffer thirst anymore." As a young girl Barbara Judd, the last owner of this picture, was quizzed by her uncle, Sir Lyonel Tollemache, 5th Bt, about the subject of this picture. As she had just learned about it at Sunday school she answered correctly and was given it as a reward.
Oil painting on canvas, Christ and the Woman of Samaria at the Well, circle of Adriaen van Stalbemt (1580-1662), previously catalogued as circle of Balthasar Beschey (Antwerp c.1708-1776). A landscape with Christ seated at the well, on the left, the woman standing beside him, holding a water jar, at the right; to the right the ground slopes towards a town, Sychar in Samaria, in the middle distance, from which three figures are approaching.
Lionel Tollemache, 8th Earl of Dysart (1794-1878), at Ham House by 1844; by descent to William John Manners Tollemache, 9th Earl of Dysart (1895-1935); bequeathed with the house in 1935 to Sir Lyonel Tollemache, 4th Bt (1854-1952); by descent to Sir Lyonel Tollemache, 5th Bt (1886-1969); given to his niece (grandaughter of 4th Bt) Barbara Judd (1926-2013) around 1932; purchased by the National Trust at auction at Christie's, South Kensington, London, 15 April 2015 (lot 485).
Makers and roles
circle of Adriaen van Stalbemt (Antwerp 1580 – Antwerp 1662), artist previously catalogued as circle of Balthasar Beschey (Antwerp c.1708-1776) , artist
Joel 1911 W.C. Joel, A Catalogue and Valuation of the Furniture, Plate, Books, Pictures and Engravings at Ham House, Petersham, Surrey, Richmond, 1911, p. 111 Rowell 2013 Christopher Rowell (ed.), Ham House 400 Years of Collecting and Patronage, Yale, 2013, Appendix 5: 'The 1844 Inventory', p. 499