New thoughts on Adrian Vanson and Adam de Colone: technical analysis of portraits by two Netherlandish artists who worked in Jacobean Scotland

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Open to all, free admission

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

Thu 27 May, 2021

Religious persecution and fortuitous trade relationships led many Protestant Netherlanders to emigrate to Britain in the sixteenth century. Vanson and de Colone are notable amongst this group as they were patronised by the highest echelons of society: Vanson was James VI’s court painter and de Colone the most prominent painter in 1620s Scotland.

Thomson, whose publications remain a seminal source, constructed their core oeuvres in the 1970s. However, little technical examination has been undertaken on works attributed to either artist to date. Discussion of the comparative examination of 22 paintings will be presented  (including thirteen focus portraits from the National Galleries of Scotland and National Trust collections and ten paintings examined in situ). Materials and techniques used to create these works were examined using established methods of technical art history with the aim of illuminating both artists’ workshop practices and clarifying issues of attribution and identity in relation to each.

Caroline recently completed her Ph.D (jointly hosted by the Department of Conservation and Technology at the Courtauld and the National Portrait Gallery, where she was a member of the Making Art in Tudor Britain team) which focused on issues of workshop practice, authorship and cross-cultural dialogues between native and émigré artists working in England at the turn of the seventeenth century. Previously, Caroline graduated with first class honours in Fine Art from the University of Edinburgh/ Edinburgh College of Art and from the Conservation of Easel Paintings course at the Courtauld. Caroline contributes to the Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon and has published on de Critz and Fuseli.

Anna Koopstra – New insights on Saint Jerome in his Study by Hendrik van Steenwijck the Younger

My research project as Associate Caroline Villers Fellow has focused on Hendrik van Steenwijck the Younger’s Saint Jerome in his Study (signed and dated 1624) from the collection of the Courtauld Gallery. This paper will present the results of the technical examination of the painting, which has provided new insight into how it was made. In addition to new observations concerning Van Steenwijck’s working methods, the composition, meaning and patronage of the Courtauld’s Saint Jerome will be reconsidered. The combined technical and art historical approach has also led to issues such as the artist’s use of prints as sources and the availability and supply of materials, thereby shedding further light on the rich artistic context in which Van Steenwijck worked.