Jan Brueghel II (Antwerp 1601-1678) and Hendrick van Balen (Antwerp 1575-1632)
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more THE PROPERTY OF THE LATE LADY SERENA JAMES REMOVED FROM ST. NICHOLAS, RICHMOND (lot 8)
Jan Brueghel II (Antwerp 1601-1678) and Hendrick van Balen (Antwerp 1575-1632)

The Madonna and Child seated in a garden with putti, birds and animals

Jan Brueghel II (Antwerp 1601-1678) and Hendrick van Balen (Antwerp 1575-1632)
The Madonna and Child seated in a garden with putti, birds and animals
oil on panel
32 1/8 x 47¾ in. (81.5 x 121.3 cm.)
(Probably) William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and 1st Marquess of Lansdowne (1737-1805), Bowood, Wiltshire; (+) sale Peter Coxe, London, 25 February 1806, lot 98, as Jan Brueghel I and Hendrik van Balen I, 'The Virgin and Child, with Angels, in a Garden, with a variety of Fruit and Flowers -- a highly finished and elaborate Performance.' (sale result unknown).
William Beckford (1760-1844), Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire, by whom offered for sale, Christie's, London, 15 October 1822, lot 79, as Jan Brueghel I and Hendrik van Balen I, 'A Landscape; a Garden Scene, with the Virgin and Child and Infants presenting Flowers -- an elaborate and beautiful picture', but withdrawn and sold with his estate to Mr. Farquar, by whom sold through Harry Phillips, on location at Fonthill, 10 October 1823, lot 79, as Jan Brueghel I and Hendrik van Balen I, similarly described (£50.8/- to Nelson, presumably on behalf of the Duke of Hamilton).
Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton and 7th Duke of Brandon (1767-1852), Hamilton Palace, Scotland, and by descent at Hamilton Palace to
William Douglas-Hamilton, 12th Duke of Hamilton and 9th Duke of Brandon (1845-1895); (+) sale [Property of the Trustees of His Grace the Late Duke of Hamilton] Christie's, London, 6 November 1919, lot 4, as 'Van Balen, Van Breughel and Van Kessel' (280 gns. to Scarbrough).
Aldred Lumley, 10th Earl of Scarbrough, K.G., G.B.E., K.C.B. (1857-1945), Lumley Castle and Sandbeck Park, Yorkshire, by whom bequeathed to his daughter, the late owner.
K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Jüngere, Freren, 1984, p. 314, no. 146, illustrated, 'The figures are by Hendrik van Balen.... the illustration suggests that [the picture] was produced shortly after the return from Italy, about 1626/27'
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Lot Essay

This picture is dated by Ertz to 1626-7, just after the artist's return from Italy in 1625 following the unexpected death of his father. Almost all of Jan II's paintings of The Holy Family date from this period, and, with staffage painted by Van Balen, are amongst his finest work, produced at a time when he was still finishing pictures left uncompleted by his father. This would appear, in addition, to be the only composition of its type by either Jan I or II.

Similar works by the father and son depict for the most part the seated Virgin and Child in the company of Saint Joseph, as a Rest of the Flight into Egypt; there are comparatively few with the Virgin and Child alone. Of either type, almost all are by Jan II, and the only known work by Jan I depicting either subject in such a garden-like landscape as the present picture is that formerly in the Spencer-Churchill collection at Northwick Park (see K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere, Cologne, 1979, pp. 579-80, no. 133, fig. 250). Ertz notes, however, that that may also be by Jan II, datable to circa 1625, thereby raising the possibility that the iconography is entirely an invention of the son's. His inspiration seems to have been his father's pictures of garlands with putti presenting the fruits of the earth to the Virgin and Child (as exemplified by the work in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, USA). Interestingly a putto in the Virginia picture is repeated in reverse in the present picture, holding a sheaf of flowers and standing to the Virgin's own right.

The rarity of the iconography means that it is highly probable that this picture is the same as that sold from the Lansdowne collection after the death of the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne in 1805. Lord Lansdowne, who served as Prime Minister from 1782-3, built a collection of pictures and sculpture of great distinction that was housed at Bowood in Wiltshire and Shelburne House (renamed Lansdowne House after his promotion to the Marquessate) in London. To a considerable degree he was advised in this by Gavin Hamilton, who procured for him pictures such as the second version of Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks (National Gallery, London), and such marbles as Cincinnatus (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen) and Antinous/Meleager and the Wounded Amazon, both excavated at Tor Colombaro, Rome, in 1771 (both Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

The painting subsequently appears in the collection of William Beckford. The result of the Lansdowne sale is unrecorded, but it is entirely plausible to suppose that Beckford, or his agent, had acquired the painting at the sale. Born to extraordinary wealth from his deceased parents' Jamaican plantations, Beckford's status as a collector and aesthete is justifiably celebrated. To finance the building of Fonthill Abbey, Beckford sold works of art in 1801, 1802 and 1807; these included Hogarth's Rake's Progress (Soane Museum, London). He also, however, acquired such works as the Fifth Plague of Egypt by Turner, whom he later employed to immortalize Fonthill Abbey in watercolour (Brodick Castle, Strathclyde, National Trust for Scotland). Beckford was an insatiable collector. Despite constant pleas of poverty, he acquired, among other works, Gaspard Dughet's Calling of Abraham and Gerrit Dou's Poulterer's Shop (both National Gallery, London). He was largely uninfluenced by fashion, claiming that he sold the two paintings by Claude from the Palazzo Altieri, Rome, the Landing of Aeneas in Latium and the Landscape with the Father of Psyche Sacrificing at the Temple of Apollo (both Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, National Trust), because of the artist's popularity. He preferred Italian art to northern, loathed Rubens and was orthodox in his veneration of Raphael, whose Saint Cecilia (National Gallery, London) he owned. Over twenty of Beckford's pictures, including Giovanni Bellini's Doge Leonardo Loredan, are now in the National Gallery, London. In 1823 Beckford sold Fonthill and many of its contents to John Farquar (1751-1826), who in turn sold the contents at auction. Several pieces were acquired at that sale by Beckford's son-in-law, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852), and the fact that this picture was subsequently in the Hamilton collection makes it almost certain that it was bought there on his behalf.

The collection of the Dukes of Hamilton was one of the greatest of nineteenth-century Europe, formed to a considerable degree by the 10th Duke. Among the important Old Masters purchased by him were Poussin's Lamentation over the Dead Christ (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin) and several paintings subsequently acquired for the National Gallery, London, including Filippino Lippi's Adoration of the Magi, Tintoretto's Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet and Rubens' Birth of Venus. In 1810 the Duke married Susan Euphemia, second daughter of William Beckford and, in 1812, commissioned from Jacques-Louis David a painting of Napoleon in his Study (National Gallery, Washington, D.C.). He also assembled a fine collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French furniture, much of which had belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette, and rare manuscripts and books. In 1844 he inherited Velázquez's Philip IV in Brown and Silver (National Gallery, London) from the Beckford estate, as well as Beckford's superb library, for which he added a wing to Hamilton Palace.


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