Constantijn Huygens, who became secretary to Prince Willem III of Orange in 1672 through the influence of his father, accompanied the Prince on his many travels and campaigns in the Dutch Republic but also in the Southern Netherlands, Germany, England and Ireland. His diaries and many notes of the years 1673, 1675-8, 1680, 1682-3 and 1688-96 are still preserved.
From his diary of 1675 and from the many drawings he made in that year (Heijbroek, Roorda, Schapelhouman, De Wilde, op.cit., nos. 32-79), we know that Huygens accompanied the Prince on a campaign through the Southern Netherlands from 20 May returning to The Hague on 25 October 1675, the last date mentioned in his diary.
Although Huygens is known to have usually spent winter in The Hague, where he resided near the Mauritshuis, on 30 December 1675 he drew a landscape with some farmhouses inscribed 'By Appeldoorn. 30.dec. 1765.' (op.cit., no. 124, now in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam), possibly showing the village of Beekbergen near Apeldoorn, where his father is known to have owned a 'boerenhuijsingh' (farmhouse). The present lot, which may show that house in the centre, was drawn in Beekbergen the following day, suggesting that Huygens may have spent New Year's Eve in his father's farmhouse.
In 1823 an important collection of diaries, notes and drawings by Huygens was offered for sale at public auction (see provenance). King Willem I of Orange ordered the documents to be bought (now in the collection of the Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, The Hague, on loan to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague), but omitted to buy the group of some 125 drawings, which were acquired for f.300 by the Amsterdam art dealer Brondgeest, and subsequently sold separately.
The present lot and the other view made on the previous day, the only known winter landscapes by the artist, were offered together as lot 15 in the above sale, the present lot being erroneously described as a view of Broekbergen instead of Beekbergen.
The Rijksprentenkabinet now has a collection of 47 drawings by Huygens