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Nicolaas Verkolje (Delft 1673-1746 Amsterdam)

Portrait of Carel Borchaert Voet

with inscription ‘f 20 A. p.n[?]’ (verso)
mezzotint, watermark fleur-de-lys
27.4 x 21.3 cm (plate); 27.6 x 21.6 cm (sheet)
Wurzbach 11, second state (of four) [1], a very good impression, with thread margins, a tiny unobtrusive backed tear in the lower left corner and a tiny retouched (?) spot in the sitter’s garment, two unobtrusive creases in the lower corners, otherwise in very good and fresh condition

Mezzotints by Nicolaas Verkolje and his father Johannes I, were highly sought during their lifetimes and prices for them sored at auction in the mid-18th century. Especially proof impressions and impressions on special sheets of paper such as blue or Japan paper were popular among collectors. The present print is particularly fine impression of such a work; it is a second state before the name of the sitter has been added on the stone ledge. The print shows the painter Carel Borchaert Voet (1671-1743) who specialised in paintings of still- lifes. He furthermore produced drawings of birds and insects and was commissioned by king William III (1650-1702) to produce a book with drawings of insects and their larvae. Due to the king’s untimely death, however, this project never came to fruition. A number of drawings of insects by Voet have survived and in the present mezzotint the artist is shown while holding one. A highly finished oil-sketch by Verkolje showing the sitter in reverse to that in the present print, which possibly served as a preparatory study, is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.2 Another drawn portrait shows the sitter in an oval surrounded by putti and an allegorical figure. [3]

[1] A. von Wurzbach, Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon auf Grund archivalischer Forschungen bearbeitet mit mehr als 3000 Monogrammen, Leipzig and Vienna, 1904-1911, vol. II, p. 773.
[2] RP-T-1940-462; R.-J. te Rijdt, in Nicolaas Verkolje. 1673-1746. De Fluwelen Hand, exhib. cat., Enschede, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, 2011, no. 31, ill.
[3] Bibliotheek Nederlandse Entomologische Vereniging, Amsterdam; op. cit., no. 33, ill.

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