|Title||Interior of a Church, by Night|
|Alternative Title||Interior of Churches with Figures; Interior of a Cathedral|
|Collection||National Trust for Scotland (Brodick Castle)|
|Artist|| Attributed to Neeffs, Peeter, the younger (Flemish painter, 1620-1675) and studio
Previously attributed to Neeffs, Peeter, the elder (Flemish painter, born ca.1578, died 1656-1661)
|Date Earliest||possibly about 1637|
|Date Latest||possibly about 1649|
|Description||An interior of a Gothic church at night. A priest is holding a service in a chapel to the left of the aisle, at an altar which is set against the backdrop of a painting, possibly showing the Assumption of the Virgin, framed in black and red marble. The dramatic lighting is created by two candles on the altar, which illuminate the chapel's architecture, creating a pocket of light within the shadowy interior. The pair to this painting, also in the Brodick collection, appears to show the same church interior, seen from a slightly different angle, in daylight. The companion painting has, in the past, been described as showing the church of St Bavo in Haarlem; however, this identification has not been satisfactorily confirmed.|
|Current Accession Number||Pending|
|Subject||religion; interior; buildings and gardens|
|Measurements||9.8 x 14.8 cm cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on metal (copper)|
|Acquisition Details||Accepted by Her Majesty's Treasury on death of Mary Louise Hamilton, Duchess of Montrose, in 1957, in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated by her express wish to The National Trust for Scotland, as part of the Brodick Castle estate.|
|Provenance||William Beckford (1760-1844); by descent to Susan Euphemia Beckford, Duchess of Hamilton; by descent to William, 12th Duke of Hamilton (d. 1895); passed under the terms of a Trust Disposition and Settlement of 1893 to only child Mary Louise Hamilton, later Duchess of Montrose.|
|Publications||Martin, Gregory, National Gallery Catalogues: The Flemish School 1600-1900, London, 1970, pp. 98-103.|
Inscriptions: 1) brush, back: 'No 135'; 2) pencil, back: '119'; 3) scratched, pencil, frame: '22' (encircled); 4) pencil, frame, a series of numbers, arranged in columns: '24'; '16 / 26'; '17'.
Labels: 1) paper, inscribed in brown ink, frame: 'Peter Neefs'; 2) paper, printed, frame: '49'.
This painting and its pair was acquired by The National Trust for Scotland with an attribution simply to 'Pieter Neeffs', without distinction between father and son. An attribution to Peeter Neeffs the younger has been applied in more recent times by Christie's, London. Peeter Neeffs the younger was collaborating with his father by 1640 and was still active in 1675. Martin (1970), writes, 'various attempts have been made to distinguish the son's paintings from the father's [...] none is wholly satisfactory.' In the absence of an authenticated signature, and in view of the difficulties of differentiating between the hands of the elder Neeffs and his sons, it is reasonable to assume that these works are products of the studio of Peeter Neeffs the elder (c.1578 - 1656-61). The figures are probably by a different hand from the architecture. It is possible that the enigmatic remnants of an inscription on the verso of the copper plate [see Inscription 1, above] refer in some way to Hendrick van Steenwijck the younger (c.1580-1649), whose work was closely connected with that of Peeter Neeffs the elder, leading to occasional confusion between the two artists.
The painting belongs to a series of church interiors by Peeter Neeffs the elder and his studio, of which there are numerous variants, many in public collections on the continent. This type of composition was first developed by Hendrick van Steenwijck the younger (c.1580-1649), whose father probably taught Peeter Neeffs the elder. Known variants are listed by Martin (1970, pp. 101-102), among which the following are close in conception to the Brodick painting:
William Beckford was greatly attracted to paintings of architectural, particularly Gothic, interiors. Two paintings in the National Gallery, London, by Hendrick van Steenwijck the younger and an Imitator of van Steenwijck, depicting respectively A Man kneeling before a Woman in the Courtyard of a Renaissance Palace (NG141) and an Interior of a Church at Night (NG 2205) were in Beckford's collection at Fonthill Abbey in the 1820s (NG 141, more tentatively identified as ex-Fonthill).
|Rights Owner||The National Trust for Scotland|