A Cocoa Tree and Roasting Hut
Albert Eeckhout (Groningen c.1610 - Groningen 1666)
The Dutch painter Albert Eckhout travelled to Brazil in 1637 with Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604–1679), the governor of the Dutch colony there. He was accompanied by the landscape painter Frans Post (1612–1680), and by practitioners of natural science and cartography. Together they recorded the character of the landscape, natural history, and population of Brazil. Some of Eckhout’s paintings of Brazilian subjects were presented to Frederick III of Denmark, and are now in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. The presence of this unusual picture at Dyrham Park may perhaps be explained by the political posts in colonial administration that were occupied by William I Blathwayt (?1649–1717) of Dyrham and his uncle Thomas Povey (1613/14–c.1705), from whom Blathwayt acquired many of his paintings. An almost identical painting is in the Royal Collection, and is thought to have entered that collection during the reign of Charles II (1660–1685).
Oil painting on canvas, A Cocoa Tree and Roasting Hut by Albert Eeckhout (c.1610-1666), circa 1641-1644. In the left foreground is a cocoa tree, on which cocoa pods hang and sone below on the ground. In the background, cocoa pods are drying outside a red tiled roofed hut on trays on all its sides. An almost identical painting called A Landscape with Farm Buildings in Brazil, now attributed to Albert Eeckhout, is in the Royal Collection and resembles the Brazilian landscapes painted by Eeckhout for Prince Johan Maurits, like those in the National Museum, Copenhagen.
Thought to have been acquired by William I Blathwayt (?1649-1717), perhaps through his uncle Thomas Povey (1613/14-c.1705); William Blathwayt sale, Thomas Joye, 21 November 1765, lot 23: ‘A Long Picture, being a View of a Summer-house, Plants, &c. in America’ (£25 written in margin)[not sold]; thence by descent at Dyrham Park; purchased by the Ministry of Works through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust for Dyrham Park in 1956
Dyrham Park, The Blathwayt Collection (acquired by the Ministry of Works via the National Land Fund in 1956, and transferred to the National Trust)
Makers and roles
Albert Eeckhout (Groningen c.1610 - Groningen 1666), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Albert Eeckhout (Groningen c.1610 - Groningen 1666), artist
A Catalogue Of the Valuable Collection of Pictures of William Blathwayte, Esq. Which will be sold by Auction at Derham, in the County of Gloucester, on Monday the 18th of November Inst. and the three following Days [...] Thomas Joye, Auctioneer , Fourth day, 21 November 1765, lot 23 White 1982 Christopher White, The Dutch Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, Cambridge, 1982 , 53