Dirck van Delen (Heusden 1604/5-1671 Arnemuiden)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE CUNNINGHAM COLLECTION (LOTS 38-44)
Dirck van Delen (Heusden 1604/5-1671 Arnemuiden)

A church interior with elegant company attending a christening

Dirck van Delen (Heusden 1604/5-1671 Arnemuiden)
A church interior with elegant company attending a christening
signed and dated 'dirck van delen. fecit. 1629' (lower right)
oil on copper
9 5/8 x 13 ¾ in. (24.4 x 34.9 cm.)
(Possibly) John (Jan) Hope (1737-1784), Amsterdam.
Thomas Hope (1769-1831), Duchess Street, London, as hanging in the New Gallery, and Deepdene, Surrey, and by descent to
Henry Thomas Hope (1808-1862),and by inheritance to his wife,
Anne Adèle Hope (d. 1884),and by inheritance to her grandson,
Lord Henry Francis Pelham-Clinton-Hope, 8th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (1866-1941), London, by whom sold to the following,
with P. & D. Colnaghi and Asher Wertheimer (1844-1918), London, 1898.
Max Flersheim (1849-1922), Paris, 1918.
Ivar Krueger (1880-1932), Stockholm; his sale (†), Svenk-Franska Konstgalleriet, Stockholm, 14 September 1932, lot 44.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 22 February 1984, lot 52 (£22,000).
Eric Martin Wunsch, New York, by 1995.
with Johnny van Haeften, London, 1997, where acquired by the present owners.
C.M. Westmacott, British Galleries of Painting and Sculpture Comprising a General Historical and Critical Catalogue, London, 1824, p. 235.
J. Weale (ed.), London Exhibited in 1852, London, 1852, p. 412.
G.F. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854, II, p. 123.
W. von Bode, Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei, Brunswick, 1883, p. 217.
H. Jantzen, Das Niederländische Architekturbild, Brunswick, 1910, p. 111, no. 107.

London, South Kensington Museum, 1868, on loan.
London, South Kensington Museum, 1891, on loan, no. 7.
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, 2001-2015, on loan.
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Abbie Barker
Abbie Barker

Lot Essay

Signed and dated 1629, the present work is an early masterpiece by the specialist architectural painter Dirck van Delen, who worked for most of his career in the city of Arnemuiden near Middelburg. Its near perfect state of preservation allows for a particularly vivid appreciation of the paint surface and its outstanding quality was recognised as early as the mid-19th century when the great scholar Gustav Waagen praised it as ‘a fine picture and, for him, particularly powerful and brilliant in the colouring’.

Painted on a small copper panel, van Delen offers a wide view into a gothic protestant church with Renaissance additions centrally down the nave. Monuments, refined carvings and other furnishings, among them an imposing swallow’s nest organ in the transept at the left, adorn the imaginary interior. In the direct foreground side chapels flank the nave. Fashionably dressed men and a group of women forming a christening procession add accents of colour to the stone of the architecture; in the middle distance a small congregation attend a service.

Van Delen’s skill is beautifully demonstrated in the clever way he uses chiaroscuro and changes his palette to articulate space and create depth, reserving subdued colouring and bold forms in the foreground while using subtle modulations of light and shade in the sunlit background. In showing a tunnel perspective with a single vantage point, slightly right of centre, van Delen adheres to the Antwerp tradition, although the enhanced attention to detail and the fine rendering of surfaces, for instance the delicate marbling on the funeral monument at the left and the cracking of the stone tiles in the foreground, betray a novel sense of realism. The polished surface of the copper support lends extra crispness to these many details.

Hanging in the ‘New Gallery’ at Duchess Street, the present lot formed part of what must have been a spectacular suite of galleries, created under the refined guidance of Thomas Hope, one of the leading designers, collectors and tastemakers of the Regency. Charles Westmacott describes the room in which this picture was displayed: ‘the apartment may, with great justice, be termed a Jewel Closet, not less from the treasures of art contained therein, than from its splendour of decoration, appropriate elegance, and tasteful arrangement’ (op. cit., p. 230) – an ideal setting for van Delen’s, ‘choice little picture, in fine perspective, with great harmony of colour’ (ibid., p. 235).

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