(Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)

A Windmill above an Arched Bridge, at left a Quay Wall

black chalk with India ink wash on paper

3 7/8 x 6 1/8 inches (9.8 x 15.5 cm)

inscribed “159” in the upper right


(Possibly) The Van Goyen sketchbook which in 1845 belonged to Andrew Geddes, A.R.A. (1783-1844), London; his sale, Christie's, London, April 8-14, 1845, lot 361.
The sketchbook bought on the continent in the 19th century by Johnson Neale (a friend of the father of Mr. T. Mark Hovell);
Mr. T. Mark Hovell, F.R.C.S., London, by June 1918;
Thomas Dinwiddy; his sale, Sotheby's, London, July 3-4, 1918, lot 124 (the entire album, £610, to Colnaghi and Obach);
with P. and D. Colnaghi & Co., London (stock no. A1700);
to Frederik Muller & Cie., perhaps as agent for Anton Wilhelmus Mari Mensing, 15 August 1918, for £800.
Anton Wilhelmus Mari Mensing (1866-1936), who dismembered the album; his sale, Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam, April 27-29, 1937, lot 218 (7,200 florins, to “Hirschmann”);
A. Mayer, the Hague and New York;
Dr. Karl Lilienfeld, New York, by 1957, who dispersed the album;
Frederick Mont, New York, by 1964 -1994; thence by descent until 2018.


The Hague, Maurithuis, 1895. (the entire sketchbook)

The Hague, Maurtishuis, 1918. (the entire sketchbook)

“Jan Van Goyen,” Leiden, Stedelijk Museum, 4 June-27 July 1960, Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum, 31 July-26 September 1960, no. 107 (according to an inscription on the reverse; one of five sheets lent by Van-Diemen-Lilienfeld Galleries)


Verslagen omtrent ’s Rijks Verzamelingen van Geschiedenis en Kunst, Vol. 18, 1895-96, p. 64-66.

Campbell Dodgson, “A Dutch Sketchbook of 1650,” Burlington Magazine, Vol. 32, No. 183 (June 1918), pp. 234-240. (the entire sketchbook)

Campbell Dodgson, “A Dutch Sketchbook of 1650,” Burlington Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 186, (September 1918), p. 112. (the entire sketchbook)

Campbell Dodgson, “A Dutch Sketchbook of 1650,” Burlington Magazine, Vol. 66, No. 387 (June 1935), p. 284. (the entire sketchbook)

Friedrich Gorissen, Conspectus Cliviae, Kleve, 1964, p. 84-86.

Hans-Ulrich Beck, “Jan Van Goyen am Deichbruch von Houtewael (1651),” Oud Holland, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1966), p. 21, footnote 10, as one of the Amsterdam sketches, ‘Mühle am Wall’ (“mill on the wall”).

Hans-Ulrich Beck, Ein Skizzenbuch von Jan van Goyen, The Hague, 1966, p. 5. (the entire sketchbook)

Hans-Ulrich Beck, Jan van Goyen, 1596-1656: Ein Oeuvreverzeichnis, vol. 1, “Katalog der Handzeichnungen,” Amsterdam, 1972, p. 306, no. 847/159, unillustrated.

This charming drawing of a view outside Amsterdam was drawn from life by one of the leading seventeenth-century Dutch landscape artists, Jan van Goyen. Van Goyen was born in Leiden and received his first artistic training there, later studying with Esaias van de Velde for a year in Haarlem (1617-1618). He was an extremely prolific painter and draughtsman, capturing the scenic topography of the Dutch landscape in oil and in chalk.

Van Goyen travelled through the Low Countries at various times throughout his career, documenting his trips with drawings in sketchbooks. This sheet derives from a sketchbook that he used in 1650-1651 on a trip along the Rhine River, during which he visited these the cities of Arnhem, Emmerich, Cleves, Nijmegen, and Tiel. After returning to the Hague, the city where had established himself, he filled the remainder of the sketchbook with drawing made on shorter trips. This particular drawing dates from Van Goyen’s trip to Amsterdam, where he recorded the devastation caused by the breaching of the Stain Anthonis Dike near Houtewael on 5 March 1651.

The drawing depicts a windmill flanked by chimneys, which each rise above an arched bride in the center of the sheet. There is a quay wall at left that sits along the water in the foreground. The small, quickly described object to the right of the bridge may be a representation of a small boat floating on the water. The drawing is freely executed in black chalk and worked up with a grey wash, possibly applied later when Van Goyen had returned to his studio. Van Goyen here captures a compositionally interesting view that unfolds along a gentle diagonal from the upper left to the lower right, interrupted by the prominent windmill. Van Goyen frequently revisited the swift and spontaneous drawings that he recorded in this sketchbook while in the studio, incorporating the landscape views in paintings or using them as the basis for more elaborate, finished drawings.[1] However, the view in this drawing does not appear in any known painting or drawing by the artist.

The early provenance of the 1650-1651 sketchbook is not entirely clear. It is likely that it belonged to Andrew Geddes in the early 19th-century, but the first notice of the sketchbook dates from when it was exhibited at the Mauritshuis in 1895. The sketchbook was independently attributed to Van Goyen by Campbell Dodgson, Cornelis Hofstede De Groot, and Abraham Bredius in the early twentieth-century. It remained integral, with some sheets already removed, until it reached the collection of the dealer Anton Mensing, who removed the drawings from their binding and mounted them on individual mats. The sheets were kept together and sold as a group from Mensing’s collection, and were later dispersed by the dealer Karl Lilienfield, who acquired them in 1957.[2] According to an inscription on the reverse of the frame, the present drawing was one of the five sheets lent by Lilienfeld to the 1960 Jan Van Goyen exhibition in Leiden and Arnheim.

[1] For a full discussion of this sketchbook, its creation, and function in Jan van Goyen’s artistic practice, see: Hans-Ulrich Beck, “Jan van Goyens Handzeichnungen als Vorzeichnungen,” Oud-Holland, Vol. 72, 1957, pp. 241-250; and Edwin Buijsen, “De schetsboeken van Jan van Goyen,” in Jan van Goyen, ed. Christiaan Vogelaar, Leiden, 1996, pp. 22-37, 80.

[2] For the most complete explanation of the provenance of the sketchbook, see: Ann H. Sievers, Master Drawings from the Smith College Museum of Art, New York, 2000, pp. 65-69, under nos. 12 and 13.