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Title A Canal in a Dutch Town by Moonlight
Alternative Title Elegant Company on the Banks of a Canal at [sic] Moonlight
Collection English Heritage (Brodsworth Hall)
Artist Neer, Aert van der (Dutch painter, 1603-1677)
Date Earliest about 1645
Date Latest about 1655
Signed yes
Description Aert van der Neer was born perhaps in Amsterdam, where he worked and died. He was a prolific painter of moonlight scenes and winter landscapes and was noted for his skill in capturing effects of light. This work shows a view along a canal in a town by moonlight. There are gabled houses on the right bank, trees and a church tower on the left, and a small unrigged sailing boat in the centre foreground. To the left of it and on the bank are two standing men, a woman with a dog and an amorous couple.
Current Accession Number 90009217
Inscription front lc 'AVDN'
Subject figure; townscape; marine
Measurements 63.5 x 77 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Transferred to English Heritage 1990.
Provenance Acquired by Charles Brind before 1849; acquired by William Theobald before 1851; bought by Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson before 1883; by descent to Pamela Williams; purchased by National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1990.
Publications Anon., 'Picture Sales of the Month', The Art-Journal, new series iii, 1851, p. 174; Dars, C., Catalogue of Paintings in British Collections: English Heritage etc., London, 1993, cat. no. 64, p. 31; Schulz, W., Aert van der Neer, Doornspijk, 2002, cat. no. 557, p. 267.

This work was apparently accepted as an autograph work by Dr Wolfgang Schultz in the standard modern monograph on Van der Neer, although he had not seen the original and was presumably relying on Dars. The attribution was endorsed verbally (on the basis of a photograph and memory) by Johnny Van Haeften on 5 May 2004, by Christopher Wright on 20 October 2004, and by Wolfgang Schulz (on the basis of a photograph) in a letter dated 11 February 2005 (Brodsworth files), proposing a date between 1645 and 1655. A copy of the Brodsworth picture, oil on canvas, 64.8 x 77.5 cm, was in Sotheby's sale, New York, 17 July 1991 (lot 106, reproduced): see Schulz, cat. no. 1220, p. 427, pl. 223.

Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson bought the work at William Theobald's posthumous sale at Christie's, London (10 May 1851, 83, 'A Canal in a Dutch Town') for 275 guineas, or 288:15s. The inclusion of the painting in this sale was mentioned in The Art-Journal, which noted that the sale included 'one of Van Der Neer's charming moonlight scenes, from the collection of Mr. Brind.' Thellusson's purchase is confirmed by the list 'Pictures: what I gave for them' and Heather and Sons' 'List of Pictures the property of C.S.A Thellusson Esq.' It is again mentioned in C. S. A. Thellusson's will of 1883 ('the picture by Vanderneer') and was recorded at Brodsworth Hall in the 1885 inventory as in the dining room ('Oil painting, Canal scene, Moonlight with figures in foreground by Van der Heer [sic]'). It was in the dining room at the time of the 1952 inventory ('1 Picture 29 x 24 Canal Scene Van de Heer [sic]').

Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author Richard Green




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