Saturday, 15 September 2012

17th Century Dutch Paintings - Part 4 :Masterpieces from Mount Stuart - The Bute Collection and National Galleries of Scotland

The gallery on the Mound in Edinburgh has a collection of Dutch masterpieces including Rembrandt and Franz Hals.  I can remember the Mound Collection from my childhood; and the Skating Minister by Naysmith and Titian’s Three Ages of Man are pictures I can remember when at school. 

I had heard about the Mount Stuart collection of the Marquis of Bute and about the exhibition from some publicity and when visiting the Lusieri exhibition a guard mentioned the Masterpieces from Mount Stuart.   (  I decided on 24th August 2012 to go on my own. 

I checked in at the information desk and was taken to the octagon shaped gallery (3, I think) and started my tour.  I tried out my knowledge of the Jan Steen genre painting on the staff member but it was not a Steen.  The first painting which I thought was a Jan Steen turned out to be by another artist. 

The staff member told me about the exhibition and had been quite envious of the colleagues who had been to Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute (Rothesay)  in gathering the pictures. (  I did manage to get the curatorial gossip on the collection.  I checked where the other 17th Century pictures were and was given instructions on where they were located. 

I worked my way round the room and was faced with something very familiar.  It was a view of the Great Kirk in Haarlem by Gerrit Berckheyde.  We had studied one like it in the National Gallery in London.( )  That picture had set me off on my discovery of these paintings which have so much to offer in terms of clarity, colour and narrative. 

I moved round the room and spotted two Albert Cuyps.  For verification I asked complete strangers to read out the picture labels and so far it had been one wrong and 3 correct.  My fifth guess of a possible artist was wrong and I decided to get the catalogue and come back again with some background. 

On my second visit, I managed to get details of the paintings which I found interesting.  These included:

The Disputed Reckoning by Pieter de Hooch (I recognised this through the chequered tiled floor.)
The Grote Markt and the Church of St Bavo in Haarlem by Gerrit A Berckheyde
A Horse, Cattle and a Cowherd Resting in a Landscape by Albert Cuyp
Cattle Wattering by Estuary by Albert Cuyp
A  Young Girl Holding a Basket of Cherries by Jacob Jordaens
Frozen River Landscape by Aert van der Neer
Mountain Landscape with Waterfall by Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael
Cavalier Playing a Lute to a Lady by Jan Steen
The Card Players by David Teniers the Younger

I checked the whereabouts of the regular collection and went round the rooms “spotting” another Cuyp guessing the Rembrandts and Franz Hals and spotting a Van der Heyden.  On returning to have another quick look at the Mount Stuart collection the guard asked me how I had got on. 

I had probably overdone my enthusiasm for Cuyp, so he offered to take me round the collection pausing in front of the Rembrandt. We went on to discuss the Cuyp Nijmegen painting and I was given a detailed description of the people and objects.  In passing the guard mentioned another picture which had been acquired for the collection. 

I was able on my 2nd visit to pick out some pictures which I liked and get a sighted friend to note the labels, as follows: 

Pictures from the Permanent Collection:

Saloman Van Ruysdael
Alkmaar in Winder, 1656
Oil on canvas

Hendrick Ten Oever
View of Zublle with Bathers, 1675
Oil on canvas

Meindert Hobbema
Wooded Landscape

Hendrick  Van Minderhout
An Engagement between English and Dutch Fleets (c1665)
In the 19th century this was erroneously attributed to Willem van de Velde the Younger and titled A Sea Fight

Albert Cuyp
Landscape with view of the Valkhof, Nijmegen

Jan van der Heyden
A View of Cologne with the Carthusian Church and St Pataleon, c1660-1665

Adam Pynacker
The Stone Bridge

On my solo visit I managed to buy the catalogue titled Masterpieces from Mount Stuart – The Bute Collection by Christian Tico Seifert.  This has an introduction by Anthony Crichton-Stuart (one of the Bute family).  I also bought a set of cards of a painting by Hendrick Avercamp titled Winter Landscape.  On a further visit to stock up on presents, we found the elusive postcard of Pitlessie Fair. (

Many thanks to the Mound staff for locating and reading out some of the labels and discussing some of the highlights.  The shop staff were also helpful in finding some items.

If in Edinburgh, make a point of visiting the Torrie Collection which is in the Georgian gallery of the Talbot Rice Gallery within the University of Edinburgh Old College.  I covered this in Part 2 of my Dutch painting series: