Saint Philip the Evangelist baptising the Ethiopian Eunuch
Aelbert Cuyp (Dordrecht 1620 – Dordrecht 1691)
Saint Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven deacons of the church, is mentioned in the biblical Acts of the Apostles but he is distinguished from one of Christ’s twelve apostles. Simon Magus was one of Philip’s converts. He baptised the Ethopian eunuch (Simeon Bachos, a treasury official at the court of Queen Candace), who was returning to his kingdom of Meroe, on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza, signifying the start of the Christianity in Africa. (Acts 8: 25-40). The Dutch artist Aelbert Cuyp, better known for his landscapes bathed in ethereal golden light, in and around his native Dordrecht, did paint some religious scenes. There is another version of this baptism in the Menil Collection, Houston , Texas.
Oil painting on canvas, Saint Philip the Evangelist baptising the Ethiopian Eunuch by Aelbert Cuyp (Dordrecht 1620 – Dordrecht 1691), signed lower right: A cuijp fet, circa 1655. The view exhibits a hilly and highly luxuriant landscape, under the aspect of a bright sunny afternoon. The eunuch is accompanied by several African attendants, one of whom holds the Book of Isaiah, and another holds the removed turban. A carriage, shaded by a canopy or large parasol, drawn by two white horses, hesitates nearby. Two other servants are mounted on chestnut horses at the rear, to the right. The eunuch, in rich oriental costume, kneels by the side of stream in the centre foreground, being baptised by Saint Philip. Ruined buildings and mountains in the distance, on the left.
Conte de Vismes (1758 - 1802), or Page, Paris 1786 (6500 francs); Le Bas Courmont, Paris 1794; Duke of Buckingham (1797-1861), 1848; Stowe sale, Christie’s, 12 Sept 1848, lot 437: bought by. T. B. Brown, 1849; Sir Hugh Hume-Campbell, 7th Bt (1812 - 1894) of Marchmont House, 1857; his estate sale, Christie, Manson, & Woods, London, 16 June 1894; Baron Gustave de Rothschild (1829 - 1911), Paris; with M. Asscher, Koetser and Welker, London, 1926; A. Ruck, London, 1927; Sir Philip Sassoon (1888-1939); sold anonymously Sotheby’s, 27 June 1928, lot 65; bought by Blane; G. Matthiesen, Berlin; with Reinhardt Gallery, New York, 1929; Sir Duncan Watson, sold at Christie’s 12 Dec 1947, lot 53: bought by Leggatt; sold by Leggatt to Lord Fairhaven for £5,000, before the end of December 1947; bequeathed to the National Trust by Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven (1896-1966) with the house and the rest of the contents.
Anglesey Abbey, The Fairhaven Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
Aelbert Cuyp (Dordrecht 1620 – Dordrecht 1691), artist
In the light of Cuyp. Aelbert Cuyp & Gainsborough - Constable -Turner , Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 2021 - 2022
Waagen 1854-7 Gustav Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols. (translated by Lady Eastlake) with a supplementary volume: Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854-7, IV, 1854, p. 441 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, V, no. 36 Blanc 1857 & 1861 Charles Blanc, Le trésors de la curiosité, Paris, 1857 & 1861, iii, p. 108 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, II, p. 12 Reiss 1975 Stephen Reiss, Aelbert Cuyp, 1975, p. 158, no. 118 Slive 1987 Seymour Slive, ‘Saint Philip Baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch by Aelbert Cuyp’, The Menil Collection, A Selection from the Paleolithic to the Modern Era, New York, 1987, pp.106-110, repd. Fig. 2, p.109.