22 December 2018

Surprises at Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford



JVDPPP visited the Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford at the end of October 2018 and encountered two unexpected but pleasant surprises.

(L-R), Dr. Andrea Seim, Laura Irwin, Dr. Jacqueline Thalmann

It is always exciting (and a relief) to find an uncradled panel which exhibits both a panel maker’s and the Guild of Saint Luke’s marks. Until this October we had not found this particular panel maker’s mark  on a Van Dyck painting. Then, remarkably, two emerged in quick succession.

The panel maker’s mark (enlarged) on the reverse of ‘Portrait of a Noblewoman with a Parrot’

The first (above) was on the reverse of the Portrait of a Noblewoman with a Parrot, a previously unpublished painting, which sold at Dorotheum, Vienna on 23 October 2018 for €1,425,000 (below).

Anthony Van Dyck, ‘Portrait of a Noblewoman with a Parrot’, oil on panel, 121 x 88 cm, sale, Dorotheum, Vienna, 23/10/18 (35)

We then found it on a Van Dyck panel in the Christ Church Picture Gallery. We have provisionally identified it as the mark of Peeter de Noble. De Noble was an Antwerp panel maker who was active from 1605 and a signatory of the 1617 panel makers’ petition. His date of death is as yet unknown.

The panel maker’s mark on the reverse of the ‘Martyrdom of Saint George’

The panel maker’s mark of Peeter de Noble as it is drawn in the panel maker’s petition of 13 November 1617

The panel was used by Van Dyck for his oil sketch of the Martyrdom of Saint George.

Anthony Van Dyck, ‘Martyrdom of Saint George’, oil on panel, Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, inv. no. JBS 247

The other panel examined at the Picture Gallery, Venus disarming Mars (1), elicited an even greater surprise.

The partial brand mark of the Guild of Saint Luke on the reverse of ‘Venus disarming Mars’

It is painted on two panels. On the reverse there is a partial brand mark of the Guild of Saint Luke. It has been sawn through, which indicates that the planks of the panel were cut from a larger panel which had already been branded by the Dean of the panel makers within the Guild. The two planks of the panel were cut from two different trees. Extraordinarily, each plank is an exact match for two separate planks in another panel we have already examined. They were cut from the same trees. We are confirming this at the moment and, once confirmed, we will seek the owners’ permission to publish both panels together.

‘Venus disarming Mars’, oil on panel, 29.8 x 43.7 cm, Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, inv.no. JBS 248

With many thanks to Dr. Jacqueline Thalmann and Laura Irwin for their kind assistance.

Justin Davies

How to cite: Davies, Justin. “Surprises at Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford” In Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project.
jordaensvandyck.org/surprises-at-christ-church-picture-gallery-oxford/ (accessed 18 January 2019)

© Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project (terms and conditions)

 

(1) Susan J. Barnes, Nora de Poorter, Oliver Millar, Horst Vey, Van Dyck. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, Yale University Press, 2004, III. A11, p. 404, as ‘follower of Van Dyck’.



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