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labour upon each particular plate stopped at an early
stage. To the copper's detriment, as many think,
others continued it, and Vandyke's etchings are only
entirely his own in that first State which is the stage

of the sketch. Yet are they far indeed from being

36



CLAUDE, VANDYKE, OSTADE, HOLLAR

worthless afterwards, A background is added. The
record of character remains pretty much the same.

It was not quite thus with Claude. He, like other
gi'eat masters, and like some small ones, suffers by the
mischief of " re-touching ; "" but nothing done upon
h^ plates, or upon any imitations of them, carries the
work much further than Claude himself had carried it.
With all the free and easy handling of the point, there
is an obvious completeness — a completeness not only for
the initiated — in some of the very best of his work. In
tone, in delicacy of chiaroscuro, the plate of the Bouvier
— the masterpiece for atmospheric effect — is carried
as far as it could have been carried by line-engrav-
ing. It has indeed quite as much atmosphere, though
not quite as much delicacy of contour, as the marvellous
plates done on about the same scale by the translators
of Turner, whom Turner in a measure trained — I mean
especially the men who wrought upon the Southern
Cncuit series : George Cooke with Margate, Horsburgh
with Wh'itstahle, the incomparable AVilliam Miller with
Portsmouth and Chvelly. Claude's Carnpo Vaccino,
again, is ecjually finished to the comers; and so, of
coui*se, in its perhaps subtler fashion, is the famous
Sunset (Dumesnil, No. 15). Cattle Go'ni^ Home in
Stormy Weather has the appearance of more sununary
labour, a freedom more convincing, and more appro-
priate to that effect of atmosphere, which, together with
the movement of beasts and lierdsmen, the plate is de-
voted to recording. Again, complete tonality is not
sought for — at all events is not ol)tained — in Shepherd



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and Shcphcrdc.s.s Conversing^ which yet, in the rare
First State of it, which alone is entirely worthy, is full
from end to end of Claude's happiest and freest, and —
dare one say ? — most playful work in the draughtsman-
ship of foliage. In the Second State one tall tree is
deprived of its height and grace. The picture is spoilt ;
or, if not spoilt, marred.

It is now four-and-twenty years since, at the Burling-
ton Fine Arts Club, there was held a well-chosen and
perhaps the first and last important exhibition of the
etchings of Claude. Dumesnil's list of all Claude's work
in aquafortis includes forty-two prints — some of them
unimportant ; and of the forty-two, the Burlington
Club, with access to the best collections everywhere
(whatever modest things may have been said on this
occasion to the contrary), managed to show twenty-six.
Besides the plates mentioned in the preceding para-
graph, the Dance by the Waterside^ the Dance under
the Trees, and the Wooden Bridge are amongst the
things one would covet. In the Wooden Bridge there
is the whole s})irit of the broad Italian land. A fine
Second State, from the cabinet of some good collector —
my own is from John Barnard's — represents the plate
perfectly. Of the Bouvicr you are lucky if you can get
a Second State. Sir Seymour Haden, who would never
tolerate a bad impression, long contented himself with
a Third, though some years before he parted with his
things he managed to acquire a First. That delightful
collector, Richard Fisher, had a First State of the

Cattle Going Home in Stormy Weather, and a noble

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CLAUDE, VANDYKE, OSTADE, HOLLAR

little print it was. Mr. Julian Marshall, who bought
rare things in his youth, and keenly appreciates them
(though, while in his youth still, he sold many), had,
and doubtless retains, a First State of the Rape of'
Europa, which, in an impression like his own — " early,
undescribed, before the plate was cleaned," says the
Burlington Club Catalogue — is indeed most desirable.

As to the money value of Claude's etchings, in the
"States" and the conditions in which they are alone
desirable, the prices that were reached at the Seymour
Haden sale in 1891 are as jjood an indication as one
can well obtain. Sir Seymour's beautiful and silvery
Fii-st State of Le Bouvier was knocked down at <£*42 ;
his Dance under the Trees — a First State too — at
X^IO ; his Sunrise (but it was a Fourth State) at
i?5, 12s. 6d. ; his SfupJierd and Slieplierdess Con-
versing, in the P'irst State, at £1 (and this was cheap) ;
his Campo Vaccino, in the First State, at £Q, 6s. He
had no Wooden Bridge. At Richard Fisher's sale,
in 1892, the Bouvier, in a Second or Third State,
fetched £\5, and a good impression of the Dance
under the Trees, £\'^. It will be seen that, rare
though Claude's etchings are, in good condition, they
do not, ill liiigland at least, when they aj)pear in the
auction-room, command j)rices that can be called
excessive.

The etchings of Vandyke, at all events the best of them,
have fetched more. It iiiiisl be that their rarity, in
the most desired condition, is even greater. Sir Sey-
mour Iladen had a few stiju-rb ones. Vandyke's own



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portrait (Dutuit, No. 3) sold in the Haden sale for ^60;
the pui-e etching of the Snydcrs for cf 44 ; the Snttcr-
mwhs for <f 30 ; the Lucas Vosterrnan, £50 ; the masterly
Dc Wad — which, even in an early, well-chosen im-
pression of a later State, one finds an enviable posses-
sion — ^^17, 10s. The touch of Vandyke has nothing
that is comparable with Rembrandt''s subtlety, yet is
it decisive and immediate, and so far excellent. And
Vandyke, however inclined he may have been to undue
elegance — an elegance tj-op voidue — in certain painted
portraits, seized firmly and nobly in his etched por-
traits of men (and practically his etchings are only
])ortraits of men) the masculine character and the
marked individuality of his models.

Of the etchings of Adrian van Ostade, Mr. Fisher
had what was practically a complete collection — he had
fifty plates ; and as he was a great admirer of this
unquestioned master of technique, this penetrating even
if pessimistic observer of Life, he had taken care to
have impressions of good character : in some cases, as
good as it is ever possible to get. Inequality of course
there was ; and whilst here and there an indifferent
impression fell for a few shillings, sums as important as
have been paid for Ostades were realised for the rarest
and the best chosen things. We will consider the prices
of the most desirable. For a First State of the Man
and Woman Conversing, £\Q was the ransom. ^£'14
was paid for even the Fourth State of that rarity, The
Empty Pitcher. Herr IVIeder gave ^^63 for the Second

State of a piece which some call spirited and some call

40



CLAUDE, VANDYKE, OSTADE, HOLLAR

savage, The Quarrel with Dra-iVn Knives, and X^26, 10s.
for the First State of A Woman Sitting on a Doorstep.
i?80 was paid by the same buyer for the First State of
the Woman Singing, and Mr. Gutekunst gave £211 for
a Fourth State of The Painter. Could I become the
oxner of two masterpieces of Ostade, the pieces which
I should think worthy to be dignified with that name,
and which I should consequently proceed to possess,
would be The Family and the Pea-sant Paying his
Reckoning. The fii*st — not less excellent than any
other in technique — is full of homely piety and truth
to common things. It is one of Ostade's larger pieces ;
and at the Fisher sale, the First State, which had been
in the Hawkins collection, passed into the hands of Mr.
Deprez for oC23. The Peasant Paying his Reckoning
is one of the smaller plates. As the title goes far to
imply, it represents a tavern visitor making ready to
leave the cosy interior ; the landlady looking out with
keenness for the sum that is due. The piece teems
with delicate observation, not only of chai-acter, but of
pictures(jue detail, and with light and airy touch. It
was a woiiderful Fourth State that was in the Fisher
collection ; and i'42 was the price that Ilerr Meder,
the most entei'])risiiig buyer of Ostatles that day, hiui
to pay to call it his. An excellent connoisseur tells us
that the earliest impressions of Ostiules are generally
light in tone — that gofxl impressions are also often
[)nntc(l in a 1)r<)wnish ink, and that they are with-
out the thick line which invariably surrountis the
later ones.

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Wenceslaus Hollar, born at Prague in 1607, and
working a long while in London, under the patronage
of Charles the First's Lord Arundel, and dying here
amongst us, in Gardiner Street, Westminster, in 1677,
was a far more prolific etcher than either Claude, Van-
dyke, or Adrian Van Ostade. In fact, that is not the
way to put it at all ; for whilst the plates of each of
these are to be counted at the most by scores, the plates
of Hollar mount to the number of two thousand seven
hundred. He was a craftsman of gi'eat variety and
ingenuity of method. But it has, of course, to be
remembered of him that in certain figure-pieces and
mythological subjects at least, he was inteipreter and
populariser of the inventions of another, and that in
most of his interesting little views he was a dainty but
unmoved chronicler of pure fact. An individual note
— a wholly individual note — scarcely belongs to his
rendering of landscape or to his vision of the town.
Yet he is a most sterling artist — not a mere monument
of industry — and his quaintness, only a part of which
he derives from his theme, is undoubtedly attractive.
The collector who collects his work has what is a faith-
ful record of some of the individuals and of many of
the types of Hollar^s time, and a fair vision of the
ordinary aspect of the outward world of Hollar's day.
The man's industry was, as we have seen, colossal, and
even at the best he was but ill -rewarded. Fourpence
per hour was, says Mr. Heywood, the price paid to him
by the booksellers.

At present it may be that there is keener relish for

42



CLAUDE, VANDYKE, OSTADE, HOLLAR

his work in Germany than here with us in England;
but one gi-eat connoisseur, as well as fine practitioner
of Etching, of a generation not yet wholly vanished,
has extolled and collected him, praising him lately,
it is true, in terms more measured than those he
had at first employed ; and another connoisseur, not
bom in earlier years than Sir Seymour Haden, but
earlier cut off, not living indeed to be old — I mean
the Rev. J. J. Hey wood, who has been named already
— was a devoted student of Hollai-'s endless labours.
He prepared in great degree the Burlington Club's
Exhibition of a large fine representative collection of
Hollar's works, in 1875, and wrote the sympathetic pre-
face to the Catalogue. On Hollar, Parthey has long
been the chief German authority ; and with Parthey
Mr. Heywood was familiar. But his own loving obser-
vation of the unremitting work of the gi'eat Bohemian
engraver of the Seventeenth Century — a wanderer in
Antwerj) and in Strasburg, as well as a long resident in
London — furnished him with some material of his own,
and the liurlingtoii Club Catalogue of such portion as
was exhibited of Hollar's gi-eat volume of production,
should be, wherever it is possible, in the hands of the
Hollar collector. It will accjuaint him with very manv
of the most desirable pieces, and will tell him, in a
form more comjMict and serviceable than Purthey's,
much about the recent I'cstiiig - places of the rarer
Hollar prints. There are a few of Uiese, of course,
which cannot j)ass into the hands of any private per-
son, or the large plate of Kdhihiir^-h, for examj)le, a

4-:3



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thing Parthey had never seen, and which was wrought
in Hollar's later time (in 1670), there exist in all the
world hut two impressions. One is at Windsor, the
other at the British Museum.

When, however, the collector has got more than two
thousand plates to choose from, and to watch and wait
for, he need not, save in sheer " cussedness," and he-
cause Humanity is built that way, trouble very much
about what is for ever inaccessible. I do not think that
even a colonial millionaire will set himself the task of
collecting Hollar en masse. Life is not long enough. The
task would fall more properly to a German student, since
patience would be wanted, yet more than money ; but,
after half a century of work, the student would pass
from us with his self-set task still uncompleted. No :
the sensible collector wants of Hollar a compact selec-
tion. Such a group as Sir Seymour Haden exhibited at
the Fine Art Society's — along with many other plates,
representing the masters of original etching — would
form a nucleus, at all events. Divided into classes in
the following way — Topography, Portraiture, Cos-
tume, Natural History, and History, that small ex-
hibited gi-oup included the Anhverp Cathedral, the
Royal Exchange, the Nave of St. George''s Chapel,
Charles the First, Charles the Second, one of the plates
of the Muff's — I trust it was the wonderful study of five
muffs alone, with the wearer's wrists and arms just
lightly indicated — and two of the rare set of Sliells,
which are as wonderful as the muffs for texture, but

somehow a little drier. Of the ])late of the Nave of St.

44



CLAUDE, VANDYKE, OSTADE, HOLLAR

George's Chapel, Sir Seymour says that it is the most

amazing piece of " biting " that he knows, as to gradation

Andjinessc. xVlong with these plates — if he is fortunate

enough to get them — or even in place of some of them,

as his taste prompts him, let the collector appropriate

the sets of the Seasons and the Buttc7-JIies, the little

Islington set, known sometimes as Six Views in tlie

North of London, and the exquisite single plate (these

topographical plates that I am reconunending are all

small ones) known as London Jy-om the Top of Arundel

House. Of the "simple probity" of Hollar's work,

and of its rightful charm, there will then be ample

evidence.

The prices of good Hollars have not of late years

risen nmch : certainly not much in comparison with

those of other prints holding positions of about the

like honour. Much of his work, therefore, is quite

within the reach of modest and intelligent buyers.

ITie latest really remarkable collection sold was that

of Seymour Hadcii, wiio had long possessed many

njore of Hollar's prints than he found room to exhibit,

with other men's work, in IJond Street. His greatest

rarities — perhaps even his best impressions — fetched

go(xl prices, l)iil, tliev were never sensational : indeed,

in several instances tbey did not substantially exceed

those realised twenty-three years earlier (in l.S(j8), at

.Inlijin Marshall's sale. Tluis, at tlie Julian Mar-

Hhall sale, the Long View of Greenwich j)assed under

the hammer at i'l, 15s., and at the Haden sale it sold

for X'2, .5s. Ij)ndon from the Top of Arundel House, s,\\

45



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impression of singular excellence, fetched £6 in the
Marshall sale ; it fetched at the Seymour Haden £9,
12s. ; but in this case there is reason to suppose that
Sir Seymour's impression, though certainly good, was
not equal to ]\lr. Marshall's. Sir TJiomas Challoner
(after Holbein) fetched 1^31, 10s. at the IVIarshall sale,
and I am not sure that it was not the very same im-
pression that afterwards, at Sir Seymour's, fetched only
^20. Each is described as a " First State," and each
had belonged in the last century to one of the greatest
collectors of his time, John Barnard, whose initials,
written in a slow round hand, "J. B.," delight the
collector, often, at the back of a fine print. The two
impressions of Sir ThomcL^ Challoner were surely really
one. The portrait of Hollar, holding his portrait of
St. Catherine, reached £6 at the Marshall sale; only
^5 at the Haden. On the other hand, the Chalice,
which is said, generally, to be from a design by Man-
tegna, was sold for £3, 10s. with Mr. Marshall's things ;
for £5, 5s. with Sir Seymour's. We need not make
further comparisons; but it will be well to end these
comments upon Hollar's money value by some little
additional quotation from the priced catalogues of the
later and larger sale of his prints. TJie Rake's Lament
fetched in 1891 i?22; the Antwerp Cathedral, in the
First State, £8 ; that neat little set of six Views about
Islington, £2, 10s. (which, if the impressions were all
good, was unquestionably cheap) ; the Royal Exchange,
in the First State, £\Q ; The Winter Habit of an English

Gentleman, £8, 10s. ; the set of Sea Sheik, or, rather

46



CLAUDE, VANDYKE, OSTADE, HOLLAR

thirty-four out of the thirty-eight numbers that the
set contains, £61. Hollar, with such a mass of work
to choose from, and with the interest and excellence
of much of it, appeals to the collector who can dis-
pense, at times, with vehemence and passion, and who
finds in quaintness and exactness, in steady technical
achievement, some compensation for the absence of a
vision of exalted beauty.



47



CHAPTER III

Remhrandt Catalogues — The extent of Rembrandt's
etched work — The careful buyer : how may he repre-
sent Rembrandt not unworthily ? — Amongst landscape
etchings, the indisputable pre-eminence of Rembrandt's
landscapes — Their influence on the most modem Art —
The landscapes' rarity — The most desirable and attain-
able — Prices — The landscapes in the Hoi ford Sale —
Rembrandt's portraits — Portraits of himself — The
best portraits of others — Recent prices of the portraits
— Those fine ones that are cheap essentially — Sacred
subjects fust touched on — The Nude — The methods of
Rembrandt — Etching and dry-point — Simplicity of the
means Rembrandt employed.

That great old connoisseur of Rouen, Eugene Dutuit,
in his two portly tomes, the Giluvre Complet de Rem-
brandt (produced in 1883), catalogues for the conveni-
ence of the collector three hundred and sixty -three
pieces, though, from his long and careful Introduction,
it is evident that he is not altogether uninfluenced
by modern views, and is willing to discard some few
out of that great array of prints. Wilson, the first
important English cataloguer, working in 1836, had
catalogued three hundred and sixty-nine. Charles
Blanc, about a score of years later, had reduced the

number to three hundred and fifty - three. Again,

48



REMBRANDT

in 1879, the Rev. C. H. Middleton-Wake had brought
the number down to three hundred and twenty-nine.
It is hardly likely that before the present chapter is
completed — a chapter that must be devoted mainly
to the more fascinating works of the gi-eatest mind that
ever expressed itself in Etching — I shall have said any-
thing of value on what is, for the student, an important
(juestion — the question of how much of Rembrandt's
long-accepted work the master really executed. For not
in a part only of a single chapter of a volume on Fine
Prints could it be possible to deal satisfactorily with the
arguments for and against certain etchings, the authenti-
city of which modern Criticism disputes or doubts about.
The matter would require not paragraphs, but a volume.
Furthermore, for anything approaching a final settle-
ment, it would need such opportunities for comparison
as absolutely no one has yet been able to possess. Sir
Seymour Ilmlon, whose views upon the subject are more
de(ine<l than most people's — if likewise it haj)pens that
they are more revolutionary — lias been pleading for a
large Exhibition ami a committee of ex})erts to settle
the matter, and, at this time of writing, the Exhibition
lia-s not lx;en held nor the committee formetl. In regard
to it* decision, I anticipate lus likely to be deliveixnl
.somewhat earlier, and jwrhaps with more of unanimity,
the utterance of Rome ui)on thul (jiicsljoii of "Angli-
cjin Oniers," which now either vexes or sympulluticnily
engagt-s her.

Hut if the moujcnt of connois.Hcurs' agreement upon

the question of the prcci.sc nrmiber of Rembrandt's true

49 i>



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etchings seems yet remote, the beginner in the study of the
prints of Uembnuult may note with benefit two things :
first, that there does exist tlie reasonable and long-sus-
tained doubt in regard principally to the "Beggar"
antl a few of the Sacred Subjects (for certain landscapes
were discarded long ago), and that thus a question has
arisen into which the student may inquire cautiously,
and, after much preliminary study, exercise his own
mind upon ; and, second (and here comes in immediate
comfort for the collector), that the doubts thrown on
two or three score of prints still leave untouched
the plates in which intelligent Criticism has recognised
masterpieces. Again, and for his further joy, if the
collector be but a beginner, or with a purse not deep,
he may note that the masterpieces of Rembrandt are of
the most various degrees of rarity ; that accordingly
they differ inexpressibly as to the money value that
attaches to them ; and that therefore, even now-a-days,
thou'di the complete or comprehensive collector of
Rembrandt will have to be a rich man, a poor man
may yet buy, two or three times in every year, some
Rembrandt etching, noble in conception, exquisite in
workmanship.

A volume like the present is not concerned pi'imarily
with the acquisitions of the millionaire, though it has,
of coui-se, to take account of them. Let us therefore,
just at this stage, ask ourselves what the careful,
modestly-e(iuipped buyer does well to do, so that in
his portfolios so great a master as Rembrandt shall not

be altogether unrepresented, and shall not be repre-

50



REMBRANDT

sented unworthily ? Ought the beginner to confine
himself at first to making a selection from one or two
groups only, out of the number of groups into which,
unless chronological order is to over-ride everything,
the prints of Rembrandt not unnaturally divide them-
selves ? Or ought he to be guided in his choice by
some ascertained facts of Rembrandt's history, and by
the help of dated plates — or by accepting as fixed and
'final the conjectures as to date which have proceeded
from the newer connoisseurship — seek some representa-
tion of the art of Rembrandt at different times of his
career ? Or ought he, instead of either confining him-
self to one or two groups or classes of subject, or seek-
ing to trace at all, by the few prints of which he may
possess himself, the course of Rembrandt's progress, the
changes in his method, see rather that in his port-
folios all classes of subject shall have something to
represent them, so that at least in this manner the
range of the master — which is one of the most marked
of his characteristics — shall be suggested ?

The chronological plan, though it has reason on its
side and great advantages, and naturally commends
itself to the advanced student who is far already on the
road to be himself an expert, is scarcely good for the
beginner; and this not only because the proper basis
of knowledge — the date that is not a shrewd guess, but
a quite certain fact — is often wanting ; but also because
the master's methods in etching, as in painting, were so
many, and in a measure at least (even the most varied

of them) were contemporaneously exercised, that the

51



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attempt to represent ])eri()(Is and manners in a collec-
tion numerically in.si<;iiilic!int becomes Quixotic or
Aaulemic. Perhajis, then, the wisest thing is to take
one or two great tyj)ical groups. For my own part, I
should take Portraiture and Landscape ; not of coui'se
cramping oneself with such ridiculous limitations as
" Portraits of Men," " Portraits of Women "—as if the
two, save for convenience of reference, should not
invariably be considered together.

I have said, for one of my two groups, I^andscape.
I justify it by the indisputable pre-eminence which
Rembrandt's etched landscapes enjoy. Even in the
dignified and tasteful work of Claude there are only
two or three pieces which hold their own in fascination
when the memory is charged with the achievements of
the Dutchman — a magical effect won out of material
intractable, or at the best simple ; for that, at most,
was Rembrandt's scenery. The landscape etchings
of Rembrandt's compatriots, when they come to be
measured by his own, assert only topographical accu-
racy, or faithful persevering study, or, it may be, a
little manual dexterity, or their possession of a sense of
prettiness which they share even with the work of the


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