Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History
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OSK section meeting Fine Arts i.c.w. the Mauritshuis: 'Ambassadors for the Netherlands: 17th-century Dutch Artists & Paintings in England'
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December 6, 2018
12.50 (regular) / 10.00 (students)

OSK/Mauritshuis symposium 2018


Ambassadors for the Netherlands:

17th-century Dutch Artists & Paintings in England



Thursday 6 December 2018 – Mauritshuis (Naussauzaal), Plein 29, The Hague

English spoken



Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691), View of Dordrecht from the North, c.1655, canvas, 69 x 193 cm, National Trust, Ascott House, Buckinghamshire – The Anthony de Rothschild Collection.


Dutch pictures can still be found in abundance in many British collections, both private and public. One can only conclude that the British have always been impressed by the observational powers of Dutch painters, and their astounding technical skills. However, the presence of so many seventeenth-century Dutch paintings in the United Kingdom is not simply explained by the great passion for collecting evinced by the British in centuries past. It is also the result of direct patronage – a fact often overlooked on the European continent. For a long time, the United Kingdom had to rely on artists from the Low Countries, who were initially employed almost exclusively to meet the great demand for portraits of members of the royal family and the aristocracy. From the 1660s onwards, however, the usual guests in the United Kingdom began to be accompanied by an increasing number of minor artists from the Low Countries, who introduced a wide variety of new genres and who helped to give shape to the burgeoning open art market in London. The morning sessions of this symposium will highlight the presence of Dutch artists in England from 1600 onwards; the afternoon sessions will highlight the collecting of Dutch seventeenth-century pictures in the United Kingdom throughout the centuries.


This symposium is organised on the occasion of the exhibition National Trust: Dutch Masters from British Country Houses in the Mauritshuis, The Hague, organised in close collaboration with the National Trust. The Trust’s collection of paintings alone amounts to some 13,500 works and is one of the largest in the United Kingdom. Many of these paintings are still displayed in the rooms where they were first hung, and some were even commissioned especially for these spaces – it is precisely this aspect of the Trust’s picture collection that makes it so exceptional. A selection of this kind has never before been displayed in the Netherlands, or elsewhere on the European mainland. It includes big names such as Rembrandt, Aelbert Cuyp, Meindert Hobbema, Gerard ter Borch and Jan Steen, as well as lesser known artists including Adriaen van Diest and Simon Verelst, whose present-day obscurity can partly be explained by the fact that they spent most of their career in Britain.


On the day of the symposium, the exhibition and the museum’s permanent collection can be visited until 20.00.



Moderator: Bart Cornelis, Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings 1600-1800, The National Gallery, London



Coffee and tea




Emilie Gordenker, Director, Mauritshuis, and Bart Cornelis, Moderator


10.30-12.30       Morning sessions: Dutch Artists in England



Sander Karst, PhD Candidate, Utrecht University:

“I will do well enough to get to the top - leave that to me”: Network strategies of Dutch migrant artists in The Hague and London 



Karen Hearn, Honorary Professor, University College London:

“Curiously painted, drawn, & understood”: Adriaen Hanneman’s portrait of Cornelius Johnson and his Wife and Son



Richard Stephens, editor of The Art World in Britain database and of The Walpole Society Annual Volume:

The experiences of Dutch and Flemish artists within the London art trade, 1680-1730 


12.00-12.30         Questions and discussion


12.30-14.00       Lunch break (individually)


14.00-16.00       Afternoon sessions: Collecting Dutch Paintings in the United Kingdom



David Taylor, National Trust Curator of Pictures and Sculpture:

Dutch Pictures in National Trust Houses



Quentin Buvelot, Senior Curator, Mauritshuis:

Ambassadors for the Netherlands: Collecting Dutch Pictures in the United Kingdom



Frans Grijzenhout, Chair Art History of the Early Modern Period, University of Amsterdam:

Subject to be confirmed



Questions, discussion and closing remarks



Drinks at the museum’s brasserie (both the exhibition and the museum’s permanent collection can be visited until 20.00 – museum entrance is not included, please bring your Museumkaart/ICOM card or Rembrandtpas to visit the collections)

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