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    Sale 7575

    Old Master and British Pictures

    25 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 23

    Jan Mortel (Leiden c. 1650-1719)

    Figs, plums, grapes, peaches, redcurrants and a pumpkin, with a lettuce leaf filled with wild strawberries, a newt, a butterfly, ants and snails on a ledge

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Jan Mortel (Leiden c. 1650-1719)
    Figs, plums, grapes, peaches, redcurrants and a pumpkin, with a lettuce leaf filled with wild strawberries, a newt, a butterfly, ants and snails on a ledge
    oil on panel
    22¼ x 17¾ in. (56.5 x 45.1 cm.)


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    We are grateful to Fred Meijer of the RKD in The Hague for confirming the attribution, on inspection of the original. Jan Mortel was a pupil of Jan Porcellis van Delden, grandson of the well-known marine painter, and became a member of the guild in Leiden in 1675. Mortel seems to have spent his entire career in that city and was appointed official draughtsman to the University botanical garden in 1690 and painter in 1711. He was influenced by Jan Davidsz. de Heem in his use of strong colour, theatrical lighting and carefully rendered details. Despite his close ties to the University botanical garden, presumably giving him access to a multitude of different and exotic varieties of fruit and flowers, Mortel characteristically chose only to include familiar varieties in the present picture.

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    Provenance

    with Leggatt Brothers, London.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 26 June 1959, lot 109.