18th-Century Dutch School

Portrait Of A Seated 17th-Century Gentleman By A Forge

18th-Century Dutch School

Portrait Of A Seated 17th-Century Gentleman By A Forge

This mid-18th-century Dutch oil painting depicts a seated 17th-century gentleman within a room by a forge.

During the 17th century, the Netherlands flourished as a hub for trade and commerce. This, in turn, led to the growth of the Dutch middle class - professional citizens with new opportunities and disposable income. These included merchants, shipbuilders, goldsmiths, skilled artisans, and even shopkeepers - each climbing the ladder of society like never before.

As a result, the demand for portraiture was equally unprecedented and leading artists in the main cities, particularly Amsterdam and The Hague, soon became inundated with commissions. Painters such as Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670), Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) and Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681), were highly sought after.

In this particular piece, we see a gentleman sitting at a table within a simple interior. Beyond, two figures work at a blazing forge. Portrayals such as this aimed to convey the subject’s character through the association of relevant imagery. E.g. the relative simplicity aligns with the pious nature of Dutch Calvinism, a major branch of Protestantism. While the forge hints at his profession.

Produced during the mid 18th century, the purpose of this piece is unclear. It could perhaps be a copy of an earlier work and bears some resemblance to those produced by Gerard ter Borch the Younger (1617-1681). Alternatively, it might be an homage to a bygone Golden Age - a celebration for posterity. Either way, it’s a charming portrayal.

Medium: Oil on panel
Overall size: 21½” x 26” / 55cm x 66cm
Year of creation: c. 1750
Labels & Inscriptions: Small inscribed label on reverse, possibly reads ‘Ter Bo__’.
Provenance: Private collection, Germany.
Condition: Assessed and approved by our conservator. Cleaned. Fine and settled craquelure, as you would expect. The paint layer is stable. Frame restored. One old repair to panel.
Our reference: BRV1787

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

Stay In Touch
Subscribe to our Wednesday newsletter for the latest finds and 10% off your order.