|Title||Portrait of an Unknown Woman|
|Alternative Title||Portrait of Van Dyck's Wife; A Lady of Amsterdam|
|Collection||Holburne Museum of Art, Bath|
|Artist|| Backer, Jacob Adriaensz (Dutch painter, 1608-1651)
Previously attributed to Berchem, Nicolaes (Dutch painter, printmaker, and draftsman, 1620-1683)
|Date Earliest||probably about 1640|
|Date Latest||probably about 1650|
|Description||The unidentified lady must have been wealthy, for she is richly attired and adorned with fine jewellery which includes a crucifix on a gold strand. It is possible that she was a citizen of Amsterdam, where the artist Jacob Adriaensz Backer lived and worked from 1633. However, her ostentation would have been unusual in Amsterdam at that time, and it is possible that she was instead from the Catholic Southern Netherlands. The treatment of the landscape background is also more Flemish than Dutch, and exemplifies how Backer was particularly influenced by Flemish painting.|
|Current Accession Number||A7|
|Inscription||front ll 'J A B' (monogram)|
|Subject||portrait (woman, lady)|
|Measurements||101.6 x 88.4 cm cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on canvas|
|Acquisition Details||Bequeathed by Miss Mary Anne Barbara Holburne 1882.|
|Provenance||Possibly Slupwijk sale, Amsterdam, 1803, lot 16; Sir Thomas William Holburne, by 1867-74; by descent to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne, 1874.|
|Principal Exhibitions||Images of a Golden Age: Dutch Seventeenth-Century Paintings, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, 1989-90, cat. no. 109.|
|Publications||Catalogue of the Pictures and Library, Engravings, Etchings and Miniatures Belonging to Sir Thomas William Holburne, Bart., Bath, 1867, cat. no. 114 as Portrait of Vandyck's Wife by Berchem; Chaffers, W., Catalogue of the Holburne of Menstrie Art Museum Bath, London, 1887, cat. no.1433, p. 71, as Portrait of Vandyck's Wife by Berchem; Moeckler, F., Holburne of Menstrie Art Museum, Bath, 1902, cat. no. 6, p. 1, unattributed; Catalogue, Pictures and Miniatures, I, 1927, cat. no. 77, pp. 24-25, pl. 5, as A Lady of Amsterdam by Backer; The Holburne of Menstrie Museum, Catalogue, Pictures, I, Bath 1936, cat. no. 69, p. 25, pl. 5, as A Lady of Amsterdam by Backer; Wright, C. Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Old Master Continental Paintings Executed before c. 1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingom, London, 1976, p. 7; Bauch, K., Jakob Adriaensz Backer Ein Rembrandtschüler aus Friesland, Berlin, 1926, possibly cat. 209, p. 98; Sumowski, W., Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler: J. A. Backer, A. van Dijk, I, Landau, 1982, cat. no. 70, p. 202; Wright, C., Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collections, Birmingham, 1989, cat, no. 109, p. 130, p. 165, ill., as by Jacob Adriaensz Backer.|
H. A. Buttery attributed A7 to Berchem, and described it as 'first rate', 1906; Mr Alec Martin, Christie's, attributed A7 to Berchem.
Steffen Heiberg, curator, National Historic Museum of Denmark, rejected a suggestion that the sitter was Countess Leonora Christina (1621-1698), daughter of Christian IV of Denmark; Olaf Koester, curator, State Art Museum, Denmark, also rejected the identification as Countess Leonora Christina.
In 1983 Peter van den Brink, Instituut voor Kunst en Architectuurgeschiedenis, stressed the high quality of A7 and suggested that it may be the work cited in Bauch (1926) Ein weibliches Portrat (102.5 x 87.5 cm), cat. no. 209, with a provenance to the Slupwijk sale, Amsterdam, 1803.
|Rights Owner||© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath|
|Author||Dr Susan Steer|