Self-portrait, wearing a White Feathered Bonnet

studio of Rembrandt van Rijn (Leyden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669)
National Trust Inventory Number 810136

Category Paintings
Date 1635 (bears signature and date)
Materials Oil on panel
Measurements 911 x 959 mm (35 7/8 x 37 3/4 in)
Place of origin Holland
Collection Buckland Abbey, Devon (Accredited Museum)
Not on show

This flamboyant painting portrays the great Dutch artist in the fanciful attire favoured by him in his self-portraits from the mid 1630s. He is wearing a sumptuously embroidered velvet cloak, a gorget (metal neckband) and gold chains. His jewelled beret has elegant golden and white plumes, attached theatrically in the centre with a large gem. He is standing in a starkly-lit studio and his shadow with the feathers is playfully depicted on the wall behind. The portrait was probably painted around 1635, after the artist had settled in Amsterdam from his native Lieden and had married Saskia van Uylenburgh, cousin of his art dealer friend.

Opinions have differed as to the painting’s attribution in the 20th century. Recently (in 2012) the Dutch art historian and Rembrandt expert, Ernst van de Wetering (b. 1938), Chair of the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) saw and reassessed it, and now believes it is by Rembrandt himself. An image of the portrait is included in his Magna Plaza shopping centre exhibition in Amsterdam which has 325 digital reproductions of genuine paintings by Rembrandt.

The National Trust is having the Buckland Abbey portrait examined and analysed technically by the internationally reknowned conservation studio, the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, before any concrete conclusions as to date and authenticity can be made.

Summary description

Oil painting on (?lime/poplar) panel, Self-portrait, wearing a White Feathered Bonnet, studio of Rembrandt van Rijn (Leyden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669), signed ? and dated: Rembrandt f. 1635. A half-length portrait of the artist with a white feathered bonnet, cloak and gorget. Acquired as a genuine Rembrandt by Prince Joseph-Wenzel von Liechtenstein (1696-1772) and considered as such by Rembrandt scholars, until Horst Gerson reattributed it to Govaert Flinck in 1968. Since then its authenticity has been in doubt. Given that it does not reproduce any genuine self portrait and that there are at least three copies (in Wiesbaden; in the Galleria Nazionale, Rome; and formerly in the Cook Collection, Doughty House, Richmond) it may reflect a lost original in view of its high quality.

Provenance

Acquired by Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein (1696-1772); collection of the Princes of Liechtenstein, Vienna, until at least 1908; with Edward Speelman, London, 1960s; Harold Samuel, Baron Samuel of Wych Cross (1912 - 1987); acquired by the National Trust as a gift from the estate of the late Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych Cross (1918-2008), 2010

Credit line

Buckland Abbey (National Trust)

Makers and roles

studio of Rembrandt van Rijn (Leyden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669), artist
previously attributed to Govaert Teunisz. Flinck (Cleves 1615 – Amsterdam 1660), artist
previously attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (Leyden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669), artist

References

Vosmaer 1868 C. Vosmaer, Rembrandt Harmensz. Van Rijn, sa vie at ses oeuvres, Le Haye, 1868, p. 508
Bode 1883 W. Bode, Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei, Braunschweig, 1883 , pp. 411, 576, no. 131
Dutuit, 1881-85 E. Dutuit, L'Oeuvre Complet de Rembrandt, Paris 1881 - 85, vol. III, p. 50, no. 141
Wurzbach 1886 A. von Wurzbach, Rembrandt Galerie, Stuttgart, 1886, no. 26
Michel 1893 E. Michel, Rembrandt. Sa vie, son oeuvre et son temps, Paris 1893, pp. 215, 560
Bode & Hofstede de Groot 1898 W. Bode and C. Hofstede de Groot, Rembrandt, Paris 1898 - 1900, vol. III, 1899, no.168
Moes 1897-1905 E. W. Moes, Iconographia Batava, Amsterdam, 1897-1905, no. 6693, p. 33
Hofstede de Groot 1908-27 C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century..., 1908-27, 8 vols., vol VI, 1916, no. 584, pp. 285-6
Valentier 1908 W. R. Valentier, Rembrandt des Meisters Gemälde, Berlin 1908 , p. 150, no. 174
Bredius 1935: A. Bredius, Rembrandt Gemälde, Vienna 1935 , no. 25
Gerson 1968 H. Gerson, Rembrandt Paintings, London 1968, no. 171
Lecaldano 1969 P. Lecaldano, The Complete Paintings of Rembrandt, London 1969, p. 103, no. 164
Tümpel 1986 Christian Tümpel, Rembrandt in Selstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, Amsterdam 1986, no. A 64
Bruyn 1989 J. Bruyn et al. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, 1989, no. C 92
Slatkes 1992 L. J. Slatkes, Rembrandt. Catalogo Completo dei Dipinti, Florence 1992, p. 378, no. 251
Wright 1982 Christopher Wright, Rembrandt Self-Portraits, 1982, no. 24, p. 41 & pl. 51

Related items

Place of origin Holland (894)
Materials Oil paint (8202)
Wood (125698)
Category Paintings (12519)
Collection Buckland Abbey, Devon (Accredited Museum) (906)
Periods 17th century (32227)
Maker Rembrandt van Rijn (Leyden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669) (57)
Govaert Teunisz. Flinck (Cleves 1615 – Amsterdam 1660) (2)
Subjects Rembrandt van Rijn (Leyden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669) (7)
Object Type Oil painting (16488)

Record Status

Enhanced

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