These pendant portraits by Hendrick Pot depict an affluent young couple most likely on the occasion of their marriage. Following established portrait conventions, the sitters face one another while looking out at the viewer, the man appearing on the left and the woman on the right. His slightly raised eyebrows and carefully groomed mustache suggest a man of discernment and fashion, the white collar and sleeve drawing attention to his face and casually held hand. He is the embodiment of sprezzatura and the pendant image of his wife speaks to his wealth. Pot has given her several props and she rests one hand on the back of a chair while holding a fan in the other. Her elaborate dress and the multiple strands of pearls wound around her neck and both wrists speak to the couple's status. Indeed, her dress, with its layered lace cuffs and collar draped over her shoulders, is reminiscent of Rembrandt's 1641 Portrait of Agatha Bas (London, Buckingham Palace), the daughter of Dirck Bas, one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company who served as burgomaster thirteen times over. Pot's pendants most likely date from later in the decade, however, as the man's tasseled collar is more typical of fashions from the 1650s.
The sitters belong to either the local aristocracy or Haarlem's wealthy merchant classes and would have chosen to have their portraits painted by Pot due to his reputation for depicting prominent sitters. Pot himself was relatively well to do and held various public offices in Haarlem, among them warden of the St. Luke's Guild four times over and, in 1635, dean. He served as first lieutenant of the militiamen's guard and appeared at that rank in two of Hals' group portraits, the Officers and Sergeants of the St. Hadrian Guard, of 1633, and the Officers of the St. George Civic Guard, of around 1639, both in the Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem. Pot was also appointed magistrate of the Tollenaersrecht overseeing the collection of tolls in 1627, was a regent of the city's house of corrections, and a commissioner of the Court of Petty Sessions (for a full biography, see I. van Thiel-Stroman in Judith Leyster: a Dutch Master and her World, exhibition catalogue, Haarlem, 1993, pp. 334-5).
Pot's reputation was not, however, limited to Haarlem. Indeed, he painted portraits of some of the most prominent political figures of the day. In 1620 he painted two versions of The Apotheosis of Prince William I, one of which was bought by the city of Haarlem for the stadhouder's Haarlem residence and the other by the Delft magistrates for the city's new Town Hall. Pot traveled to England in 1632 where he worked at the court of Charles I, painting at least two portraits of the King, one now in Paris, Musée du Louvre and another of the King together with Queen Henrietta Maria and the Prince of Wales in London The Royal Collection (Buckingham Palace).
The extent of Pot's oeuvre has been little known until relatively recently. Until the late nineteenth century his portraits were given to such artists as Anthonie Palamedesz, Thomas de Keyser, Jacob Duck and even Frans Hals. These pendants, which most recently hung in the Eerste Kamer of the Dutch Parlaiment, were formerly attributed to Allaert van Everdingen and Goudstikker may well have considered them to be works by that artist. Pot painted several group portraits of civic guard members in addition to single portraits, genre scenes, and according to contemporary documents, still lifes.