Attributed to Evert van der Maes
(c.1577 – 1646)
Hester Cornelia de Bruyn van Buytewech, aged ten (b. 1603)
Painted Inscribed and dated upper left: ‘AETA. 10. / A. 1613; and with the family’s coat-of-arms, upper left
Oil on panel: 35 ½ x 27 5/8 in. (90.2 x 70.2 cm.)
with Richard Green, London, as ‘Gortzius Geldorp’;
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s London, 9 April 1997, lot 4, as ‘George Geldorp’;
Private collection USA.
We are grateful to Sabine Craft-Giepmans of the RKD for suggesting the attribution of this accomplished early Dutch golden-age portrait to Evert van der Maes. Previously attributed to both Gortzius Geldorp and later, George Geldorp, the portrait in fact appears on stylistic grounds most likely to be the work of northern Netherlandish artist Van der Maes, who indeed was active in The Hague, not far from the sitter’s native Leiden.
The family of the sitter were well-established Catholics in Leiden, and the coat-of-arms on the portrait relate to both sets of her grandparents: Hester Cornelia de Bruyn van Buytewech’s paternal grandparents, Gerrit van Buytewech and Elisabeth Jacobsdr. van Zweiten, are represented by the golden pointe on a blue field and the rebecs, or violins, on the left; while her maternal grandparents are denoted by the gold fleur-de-lis on a red field and rampant black lion above, with three hanchet (heraldic bugles) over three more fleur-de-lis beneath on the right. Thus we can assume the painting was specifically commissioned to display the young girl’s pedigree.
Bearing the date of 1613, the portrait could plausibly have been commissioned in tribute to her paternal grandfather who died that same year. Indeed, one could also speculate whether it was commissioned for or by her childless paternal uncle, Johan de Bruyn van Buytenwech, who moved from Leiden to Gouda in 1613. The family connection was evidently strong, for he ultimately bequeathed his estate to Hester’s children on his death in 1657. He was one of the richest men living in The Hague in the mid 17th century.
The young Hester, who was aged just ten when this portrait was painted, is sumptuously dressed, her hair swept back and up, in a style typical for the early seventeenth century, and adorned with a gold pin. Her large standing collar is bordered with intricately worked reticella lace and attached to a long bodice of red silk with a floral, leaf pattern worked in gold; her beautiful red brocade dress supported by a fashionable farthingale, bears comparison to that seen in Daniel Mijten’s betrothal portrait of the seven-year-old Mary Feilding, as Countess of Aran, later Marchioness and Duchess of Hamilton (1613 – 1638), from 1620, formerly with The Weiss Gallery.
Hester later married Albrecht van Wassenaer, Lord of Alkemade (1599 – 1657) in Leiden on 21 July 1635. The couple gave birth to three children: Odilia, Phillipina and Gerard. A portrait of their two daughters as shepherdesses was painted by Michel Angelo Immenraet for a mantelpiece in the Hofje van Nieuwkoop in 1661. This hofje (public housing for the poor), was founded after the last will of her afore-mentioned uncle, Johan de Bruyn van Buytenwech. He generously stated that poor widowers of all religions should be welcome to live in one of the 62 houses.
Evert van der Maes was an accomplished artist in The Hague whose work shows the influence of his leading contemporary in that city, Jan Anthonisz. van Ravesteyn. Fine examples of his work are the full-length portrait of a Standard Bearer from The Hague, Willem Jansz. Cock, 1617, (Gemeentemuseum inv./cat.nr 314; Haags Historisch Museum, inv./cat.nr 29-ZJ); and a pair from 1608, Johan van Wassenaer van Duvenvoirde (1576-1645), and his wife, Maria van Voorst van Doorwerth (1575-1610), (Kasteel Duivenvoorde, Voorschoten).
Sabine Craft-Giepmans's main argument for endorsing the attribution was the stylistic comparison with the two aforementioned works firmly attributed to Evert van der Maes (dated 1608) at Kasteel Duivenvoorde. We have identified that Johan van Wassenaer and Albrecht van Wassenaer, Lord of Alkemade (1599 – 1657) - i.e. our sitter's future husband - shared a great-grandfather, Johan I van Wassenaer, Heer van Noordeloos, Starrenburg en Ten Bossche (1470 - 1544). It is therefore very feasible that the Leiden-based Hester Cornelia de Bruyn van Buytewech, who had many relatives based in The Hague, travelled to be painted by Van der Maes; an artist who had already painted members of her husband's extended family.
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Identified by Jan van Helmont, 2016.
As posited by Sabine Craft-Giepmans of the RKD.
 See family tree on next page.
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