Broad river view with wooded shores


Amsterdam 1627 – 1692 Amsterdam

Broad river view with wooded shores

Brush in brown and gray ink, pen in brown ink; laid down; dark brown ink framing lines.
218 x 347 mm (8-1/2 x 13 in).

WATERMARK: Strasbourg lily,
similar to Heawood no. 1730 (Amsterdam, dated 1646). (R23)
CHAIN LINES: horizontal, 25-27 mm.
INSCRIPTIONS: signed R. Roghman. f. at lower left (brush in brown ink)
PROVENANCE: William Esdaile (1758-1837), London (L. 2617), his sale, London, Christie and Manson, 22 June 1840, lot 704 or 705.
Sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 3 April 1978, lot 116, acquired at the sale.
LITERATURE: Sumowski 1992, vol. 10, pp. 5038-9, no. 2233.
EXHIBITIONS: Robinson, Franklin W. and Peck, Sheldon. Fresh Woods and Pastures New: Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Drawings from the Peck Collection. Chapel Hill/ Ithaca/ Worcester. 1999-2001. Published catalogue.

Roelant Roghman is one of the most prolific and important Dutch landscape draftsmen of the 17th century. Perhaps the most celebrated part of his output is an extraordinary series of topographically accurate drawings of castles and knights’ residences in the Netherlands, about 245 sheets executed when he was just 20 or 21 years old.

However, Roghman’s landscape drawings apart from this series have an energy, variety, and mixture of precision and imagination that are hardly rivaled in his time; the present drawing is an excellent example of how his loaded brush controls the progression of light and shadow back into space, as the pen lines in brown ink define the figures and trees. The landscape as a whole seems to melt in the late afternoon sunlight before our eyes.

This work is close to a sheet in the Teyler Museum, which Plomp (1997, p. 347, cat. no. 397) has identified as from a series drawn in the countryside around Brussels, perhaps about 1651. The scene is also reminiscent of drawings in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; formerly at Colnaghi, London; and the Jonquet sale, Sotheby’s, London, June 1926, no. 91, as well as a painting (Christie’s, London, June 6, 1974, no. 5). In addition to the trees and hilly road on the right and lake in the middle ground, Roghman has put in a tree, isolated on the far shore, in both pen and wash; in the present drawing, this tree is executed only in pen and brown ink, and is barely visible.