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Jan Asselijn (1610 - 1652)



January 28, 2010
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


signed with monogram and dated lower left, on the crate: 1652 / JA


53 3/4 by 67 1/2 in.; 136.5 by 171.5 cm.

Artist or Maker

JAN ASSELIJN Dieppe after 1610 - 1652 Amsterdam


oil on canvas


G. Waagen, Art Treasures in Great Britain, London 1854, vol. IV, p. 351;
P. Wescher and E. Feinblatt, Los Angeles County Museum, Catalogue of Paintings I: Catalogue of Flemish, German, Dutch and English Paintings, XV-XVIII Century, Los Angeles 1954, p. 48, cat. no. 51, reproduced (as "Ruined Bridge, Rome");
E. Zahle, Saertryk of C.L. David Samling, Copenhagen 1958, vol. III, p.133, reproduced;
A. Blankert, Nederlandse 17e eeuwse Italianiserende landschapschilders, exhibition catalogue, Utrecht 1965, p. 140 (where incorrectly said to be dated 1650);
A. Steland-Stief, Jan Asselijn, Amsterdam 1971, pp. 78, 153, cat. no. 179 (where incorrectly said to be dated 1650);
P. Sutton, Dutch Art in America, Grand Rapids and Kampen 1986, pp. 132 and 347;
S. Schaefer, et al., European Painting and Sculpture in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles 1987, p. 13, reproduced;
V. Galliazzo, I Ponti Romani, vol. II, Treviso 1995, p. 260.


Christopher Batt, London;
His sale, London, Christie's, April 14-15, 1756, lot 66, for £5.5;
Acquired at the above sale by Lord Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt (1714-1777), Nuneham Park, Oxfordshire;
George Simon Harcourt, 2nd Earl Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt (1736-1809);
William Harcourt, 3rd and last Earl Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt (1742/3-1830);
Thence via the marriage of his great aunt, Martha (1715-1794) to George Vernon, later Venables-Vernon, 1st Lord Vernon, Baron of Kinderton (1709/10-1780), to their second son, Edward Venables-Vernon (1757-1847), created Vernon Harcourt by Royal licence on inheriting the Harcourt Estates in 1830;
George Granville Vernon-Harcourt, later Harcourt of Nuneham Courtenay (1785-1861);
Rev. William Vernon-Harcourt, later Harcourt (1789-1871);
Edward William Harcourt of Nuneham Courtenay and Stanton Harcourt (1825-1891);
Aubrey Harcourt, of Nuneham Park and Stanton Harcourt (1852-1904):
Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt (1827-1904);
Lewis Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt and Baron Nuneham of Nuneham-Courtenay (1863-1922);
William Edward Harcourt, 2nd Viscount Harcourt (1908-1979);
His sale, London, Christie's, June 11, 1948, lot 90 (bt. Mallet for Hearst for £94.10);
William Randolph Hearst, New York and Los Angeles, until 1949;
Gift of William Randolph Hearst to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1949 (acc. no. 49.17.7).


Asselijn painted several further depictions of the Ponte Rotto (originally the Pons Aemilius, built 179-142 B.C.), the earliest dated version being from 1644. (1) The present lot has most in common with the 1650 dated version in the C.L. David collection, Copenhagen, being of broadly the same dimensions and being composed along almost identical lines, although with the addition here of a group of goats in the lower right foreground, bathers in the river, and two statues on the bridge. Another (unsigned and undated) version, not recorded by Steland, has recently come to light in a private collection in Rome, which depicts the bridge from the same viewpoint but includes different staffage. (2) There are two related drawings (both pen, ink and grey wash), one formerly in the collection of F.C. Butôt (3) and the other in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam. With this latter, which renders the upper right section of the bridge, the present lot shares most compositional elements, although the drawing omits the two statues and incorporates the two figures that lean over the wall (one in a wide-brimmed hat), further to the right.

Note on the Provenance
This painting was acquired in 1756 by the noted English patron and collector, Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt (1714-1777). The only son of the Hon. Simon Harcourt (1684-1720) of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, and his wife Elizabeth, granddaughter of the diarist John Evelyn, he succeeded to the family's estates and titles on the death of his grandfather, Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (1661-1727), and shortly thereafter set out on an extensive Grand Tour, which was to last for four years. He held a number of posts in the royal household - even acting briefly as tutor to the future George III - and was created 1st Earl Harcourt by George II in 1749. He reached the rank of general in the army and served as ambassador in Paris (1768-72) and lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1772-77). His interests in the Arts were diverse: he was one of the founder members of the Dilettanti Society in 1732 and assembled a notable collection of pictures. (4) He commissioned portraits from Reynolds (5 )and Knapton, was a patron and friend of Paul Sandby, and collected numerous Old Masters, including important works by Poussin: Moses purifying the Waters (now Baltimore, Museum of Art) and Mars and Venus (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts). In 1756 he drew up plans for a Palladian villa to be built overlooking the Thames at Nuneham Courtenay near Oxford. The villa was designed and built by Stiff Leadbetter from 1756 to 1764 and much of the interior decoration was carried out by James 'Athenian' Stuart. Harcourt died by falling into a well at Nuneham, from which he had been trying to save a favourite dog. His eldest son, George Simon, 2nd Earl Harcourt, enlarged the family's collection and commissioned Lancelot 'Capability' Brown to remodel the House and Park (1781-82).

Describing the Drawing-Room After his visit to Nuneham in 1856/7 ('on the walls of this agreeably-proportioned apartment, which are hung with crimson silk, the pictures have a beautiful effect') Waagen noted, amongst other paintings, the two Poussins and the present lot ('Jan Asselyn-A very large landscape, with a broken bridge, and buildings.... An important work, but placed too high').

1. Steland, op. cit., p. 153, no. 181; for the others see ibid, pp. 153-4, nos. 180, 182.
2. Sold Milan, Sotheby's, November 12-13, 2003, lot 113.
3. L.J. Bol and G.S. Keyes, Netherlandish Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of F.C. Butôt, London 1981, pp. 170-1, no. 68, reproduced.
4. D. Moore-Gwyn, in J. Turner, ed., The Dictionary of Art, London 1996, vol. 14, pp. 163-64.
5. E.K. Waterhouse, Reynolds, 1941, p. 39,reproduced plate 20a.

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