Philips Wouwerman (Haarlem 1619-1698)
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Philips Wouwerman (Haarlem 1619-1698)

A hawking party resting by a fountain

Philips Wouwerman (Haarlem 1619-1698)
A hawking party resting by a fountain
oil on panel
14 3/8 x 19 1/8 in. (36.4 x 48.5 cm.)
Marc Antoine René de Voyer, Marquis de Paulmy and 3rd Marquis d'Argenson (1722-1782), Paris, by 1750.
M. La Prade; sale, Pierre Rémy, Paris, 19 April 1776, lot 22 'Ce tableau a l'avantage d'une composition agreable et d'une bonne couleur; les figures et les chevaux sont bien dessines' (3000 francs).
Chevalier Charles-François Mesnard de la Claye, called Mesnard de Clesne; his sale, A.J. Paillet, Paris, 4 December 1786, lot 14 (6150 francs to J. Brun).
Jonkheer Pieter Hendrik Goll van Frankenstein (1787-1832), Amsterdam, by 1829; his sale, Amsterdam, 1 July 1833, lot 88, 'Ce délicieux chef-d'oeuvre est d'un style svelte et aimable et d'un brilliant sans recherche; aussi peut-on le mettre au rang des premiers de ce grand maître', (6000 florins to Van Idsinga).
with C.J. Nieuwenhuys (1799-1883), from whom acquired by
Henry du Pré Labouchère, M.P., subsequently 1st and last Baron Taunton (1798-1869), Stoke Park, Berkshire, by 1854, and by descent at Quantock Lodge, Bridgwater, Somerset, through his eldest daughter to
E.A.V. Stanley; Sotheby's, London, 14 July 1920, lot 87.
with Bernard Houthakker, Amsterdam.
with D.A. Hoogendijk, Amsterdam, 1952, from whom acquired by
Robert Rex Edgar, and by descent to the present owner.
J. Moyreau, Oeuvres de Philips Wouwerman, Hollandais, Gravés d'après ses Meilleurs Tableaux qui sont dans les plus beaux cabinets de Paris et ailleurs, Paris, 1737-1762, no. 64.
J. Smith, A catalogue raisonné, etc., I, London, 1829, p. 236, no. 117; IX, 1842, no. 41.
G.F. Waagen, The Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854, II, p. 422, 'A delicate, charming, and transparent picture, of the early part of his third period'.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A catalogue raisonné, etc., II, London, 1909, p. 470, no. 689.
B. Schumacher, Philips Wouwerman: The Horse Painter of the Golden Age, Doornspijk, 2006, I, pp. 251-2, no. A203 (whereabouts unknown); II, plate 191.
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Lot Essay

Praised by Dr. Waagen for its delicacy and charm, this impeccably preserved panel is a superb example of Wouwerman's mature output for which he earned his enduring reputation as the greatest Dutch painter of the horse. Schumacher (loc. cit.) suggests a date towards the end of the 1650s by which time the artist's tonality had become lighter and more silvery and his technique remarkably assured. During this period Wouwerman increasingly favoured elegant hunting scenes for his subjects, usually, as in this case, featuring richly attired mounted couples attended by pages on foot, within fanciful, vaguely Italian settings. It was this type of scene that proved particularly sought after by 18th century noble French collectors and the present work entered the collection of the Marquis d'Argenson (1722-1782) sometime before 1750. There it was engraved by Jean Moyreau and included in his series of 86 folio-sized engravings of Wouwerman's best paintings, produced to cater to the great demand for the artist's imagery. The engraving served as the basis for several copies, two of which have recently been on the market in London (Christie's, South Kensington, 14 April 1999, lot 213; and Sotheby's, London, 23 April 1998, lot 49).

The first English owner of the picture was the distinguished collector Henry Labouchère, 1st Lord Taunton (1798-1869). To some extent his taste may have been inherited: his father, Peter Caesar Labouchère of Hylands, who was brought up in Holland, was a partner in the firm of the Hope family, several of whom were notable collectors; while his mother, Dorothy Elizabeth was a daughter of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Bt., whose exceptional collection of Dutch pictures was sold to the Prince Regent, and thus the sister of two of the more remarkable connoisseurs of the early nineteenth-century, Sir Thomas Baring, 2nd Bt. and Alexander, 1st Lord Ashburton. Labouchère's intimate association with his mother's family led to his marriage, in 1842, to Sir Thomas's youngest daughter, Frances, and as a result he was both the first cousin and brother-in-law of her brother, Thomas Baring M.P. (1799-1873), whose pursuit of old master pictures, and particularly of works by the great Dutch painters, offers interesting parallels with his own. Labouchère had a significant political career in the Whig interest, serving as Secretary of State for the Colonies, under Lord Palmerston, and was created Lord Taunton in 1859.

Dr. Waagen visited Labouchère at Stoke, his house near Windsor, in 1850, and was shown the collection by him, commenting that this was hung after the fashion of the Pitti Palace and that the arrangement was altered when additions were made. While a Titian had been in his grandfather's collection at Stratton, Labouchère bought Italian works from the collections of William Coningham, William Jones of Clytha and Edward Solly. Of these, the most remarkable was perhaps Crivelli's Annunciation, which he presented to the National Gallery in 1864. Labouchère's Dutch pictures were selected with particular care, as can most easily be seen by examining the handful of these which were sold to Lord Hertford and are now in the Wallace Collection: Nicolaes Maes's Listening Housewife, The Embarkation of King Charles II at Scheveningen by Willem and Adriaen van de Velde, and the Milkmaid by Paulus Potter. Labouchère also owned two still-lifes by Jan van Huysum: a Swag of flowers, sold in these Rooms, 6 July 2006, lot 62, and a Flowerpiece now in the National Gallery (no. 796). Waagen's perceptive comments on the Wouwerman show how well this picture held its own in such company.

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