The two-part RKD Study Dulwich Picture Gallery features the 228 important Dutch and Flemish paintings from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, which form part of the extensive collection of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. This digital publication is a revised version, with scholarly annotations, of the comprehensive catalogue published in 2016 and written by Ellinoor Bergvelt and Michiel Jonker. The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History has been digitally publishing the results of art historical research since 2011. Within the last year, a new online environment for RKD Studies has been launched: RKDstudies.nl.
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery owns one of the finest collections of Old Master paintings in the United Kingdom, especially rich in French, Italian and Spanish Baroque paintings and in British portraits from the Tudor period to the nineteenth century. Famous works include those by Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Poussin, Watteau, Canaletto, Rubens, Veronese and Murillo amongst many others. The collection was opened to the public in 1817 in a building designed by the celebrated architect Sir John Soane, as the first purpose-built art gallery in Britain.
Dutch and Flemish paintings
The founding collection of the Gallery was assembled by art dealer Noel Desenfans (1744-1807) and painter Sir Francis Bourgeois (1753-1811). The pair collected over 370 paintings, of which 170 were by Dutch and Flemish artists. It is striking that most of the paintings did not come directly from the Netherlands but from French collections. These were dispersed in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789 and came onto the art market in London. The Dulwich Picture Gallery collection gives a good indication of what French aristocrats of the time most valued in Dutch and Flemish painting, for example the Italianate landscapes of Nicolaes Berchem, Jan Both, Aelbert Cuyp, Karel du Jardin and Adam Pijnacker. The Dutch Italianates feature prominently in the collection. In addition there are important works by Rembrandt, most notably Girl at a window, as well as a large number of oil sketches by Rubens, and Samson and Delilah by Van Dyck.
In addition to the 170 paintings from the Desenfans and Bourgeois bequest, the Catalogue of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Dutch, Flemish and German Schools, with addenda to the British School I & II describes Dutch and Flemish (as well as a few British and German) works from the bequests of other collectors. The catalogue is preceded by an essay outlining the evolution of the Gallery’s impressive collection, which discusses private donors including the actor William Cartwright (1606-1686). This is followed by detailed entries about all the artists and paintings featured in the collection. The RKD Study was compiled and written by Michiel Jonker (1947-2014), former Head of Collections at the Mauritshuis, and Ellinoor Bergvelt (1947), now guest researcher at the University of Amsterdam, associate researcher for the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History and Research Fellow at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Source: Press Release RKD, 18 March 2021