Not currently on display at the V&A

Skating in Holland

Oil Painting
1846 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870) was apprenticed in The Hague to the decorative painter Joannes Henricus Albertus Antonius Breckenheijmer (1772-1856) and soon specialised in landscape painting but also narrative genre scenes. He became best known for his representations of the Dutch winter landscape. He was a prolific draughtsman and produced many watercolours. Schelfhout achieved a great success during his lifetime and had many pupils including members of the later Hague school such as Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) and Johannes Franciscus Hoppenbrouwers (1819-1866).

This work is a good example of Schelfhout's late production in which he executed several winter compositions reminiscent of the 17th century genre tradition. The highly detailed brushwork and jewel-like quality of the painting also recall the technique of the watercolour, an activity for which Schelfhout was famous and highly appreciated. The blue and pink hues in the dominating sky enhance the sense of coldness due to the winter conditions and witness the persistent interest of Dutch artists in nature and its atmospheric effects in Holland. Essential characteristic of the Dutch countryside is the windmill represented on the right while the figures do not look particularly from the 19th century but could also belong to a most remote past. This painting witnesses therefore in many ways the long lasting influence of the seventeenth century Dutch tradition of genre and landscape painting.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on oak panel
Brief Description
Oil painting, 'Skating in Holland', Andreas Schelfhout, 1846
Physical Description
A Dutch winter scene with a frozen river on which several figures are skating or walking; a mill and two houses are on the right river bank, and a bunch of trees, a house and a horse-drawn wagon on the left.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 47.6cm
  • Estimate width: 63.5cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'A Schelfhout f 46' (Signed and dated by the artist, lower left)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend
Object history
Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, 1868

Ref : Parkinson, Ronald, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860. Victoria & Albert Museum, HMSO, London, 1990. p.xix.



'Chauncy Hare Townshend (1798-1868) was born into a wealthy family, only son of Henry Hare Townsend of Busbridge Hall, Godalming, Surrey. Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA 1821). Succeeded to the family estates 1827, when he added 'h' to the Townsend name. He had taken holy orders, but while he always referred to himself as 'Rev.' on the title pages of his books, he never practised his vocation... . Very much a dilettante in the eighteenth-century sense, he moved in the highest social and literary circles; a great friend of Charles Dickens (he was the dedicatee of Great Expectations) with whom he shared a fascination of mesmerism... Bulwer Lytton described his life's 'Beau-deal of happiness' as 'elegant rest, travel, lots of money - and he is always ill and melancholy'. Of the many watercolours and British and continental oil paintings he bequeathed to the V&A, the majority are landscapes. He is the first identifiable British collector of early photographs apart from the Prince Consort, particularly landscape photography, and also collected gems and geological specimens.'



Historical significance: G.F. Waagen saw the present work in the dining room at C.H. Townshend's house in the 1850s and later commented on it:



'Schelfhout.- A winter landscape, with a mill, and a frozen canal, animated with skaters. Signed and dated 1846. This picture is a laudable specimen of that picturesqueness of conception, truth of every part, and careful execution, which, in my opinion, place this already aged painter at the head of the modern Dutch school.'



This painting is a typical of Schelfhout's work around the mid 19th century, when he specialised in winter scenes reminiscent of the work of Isaack van Ostade (1621-1649) and Adriaen van de Venne (1589-1662). This scene is dominated by a large cloudy sky and has a pinkish grey palette. Schelfhout executed several similar compositions, such as the Winter scene with frozen river, dated 1867 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and the Winter landscape, dated 1871, in the Dordrecht Museum.
Historical context
Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870) was apprenticed in The Hague to the decorative painter Joannes Henricus Albertus Antonius Breckenheijmer (1772-1856) and specialised in landscapes and genre scenes. He was best known for his representations of winter landscapes. He was a prolific draughtsman and produced many watercolours. Schelfhout achieved great success and had many pupils, including Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) and Johannes Franciscus Hoppenbrouwers (1819-1866).



Landscape paintings became extremely popular during the 17th century and increasingly encompassed a variety of forms and genres. During the first half of the 19th, many Dutch artists imitated 17th century imagery.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870) was apprenticed in The Hague to the decorative painter Joannes Henricus Albertus Antonius Breckenheijmer (1772-1856) and soon specialised in landscape painting but also narrative genre scenes. He became best known for his representations of the Dutch winter landscape. He was a prolific draughtsman and produced many watercolours. Schelfhout achieved a great success during his lifetime and had many pupils including members of the later Hague school such as Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) and Johannes Franciscus Hoppenbrouwers (1819-1866).



This work is a good example of Schelfhout's late production in which he executed several winter compositions reminiscent of the 17th century genre tradition. The highly detailed brushwork and jewel-like quality of the painting also recall the technique of the watercolour, an activity for which Schelfhout was famous and highly appreciated. The blue and pink hues in the dominating sky enhance the sense of coldness due to the winter conditions and witness the persistent interest of Dutch artists in nature and its atmospheric effects in Holland. Essential characteristic of the Dutch countryside is the windmill represented on the right while the figures do not look particularly from the 19th century but could also belong to a most remote past. This painting witnesses therefore in many ways the long lasting influence of the seventeenth century Dutch tradition of genre and landscape painting.
Bibliographic References
  • Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 93, cat. no. 200.
  • Waagen, Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an account of more than forty collections of Paintings, Drawings, Scuptures, Mss, etc, London, 1857, p.176.
  • Börsch-Supan, H. et al., Lexikon der Düsseldorfer Malerschule : 1819-1918, Munich, 1997, vol. 3, p. 261. Laanstra, Willem, Andreas Schelfhout, 1787-1870, Amsterdam 1995
Collection
Accession Number
1530-1869

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record createdFebruary 7, 2007
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