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Sir John Frechville Ramsden [1877-1958], 6th Bart., Bulstrode, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire; (sale, Christie's, London, 11 July 1930, no. 23, as Joos van Cleve); sold 1930 to (Hermann Ball, Berlin);[1] (Schaeffer Gallery, Berlin, by 1930);[2] Adolph Caspar Miller, Washington, by 1937;[3] bequest 1952 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Paintings and Sculpture Owned in Washington, Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, 1937, no. 2, as Ambrosius Benson.

Technical Summary

The painting is generally in good condition. There are tiny, inpainted losses scattered throughout, and an area of abrasion in the left shoulder has been inpainted. Over the background is a layer of dark green, pigmented varnish. It is possible that the original background was lighter in color but suffered from discoloration (yellowing) or some other damage and was restored. This restoration was partially removed and the background restored to its present appearance. Examination with infrared and infrared reflectography reveals underdrawing in the face and hands. The gloves were painted over the left hand and the position of the hand then lowered. Surface dirt was removed and minor treatment administered in 1957.

Reverse: There are indications that the present design layer is not original. Small losses appear to lie under the lower banderole at the right, the black background seems to lie over cracks in a lower layer of blue, and the outlines of leaves lie over cracks and other damages. However, the present design layer does not look modern and may be a reinforcement of the original design. There appear to be several layers of varnish covering the surface and these have altered the colors of the blazon.


Friedländer, Max J. Die altniederländische Malerei 14 vols. 1924-1937. Berlin, 1924: 2:107, 147, no. 296, pl. 93-94. (English ed., 14 vols., 1967-1976. Leiden, 1967: 2:61, 101, no. 296, pl. 183.)
Marlier, Georges. Ambrosius Benson et la peinture à Bruges au temps de Charles-Quint. Damme, 1957: 256-257, 320-321, no. 146, pl. 75.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 13, as Niclaes de Hondecoeter by Ambrosius Benson.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 6, repro., as Niclaes de Hondecoeter by Ambrosius Benson.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 26, repro., as Niclaes de Hondecoeter by Ambrosius Benson.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 158, no. 171, color repro., as by South Netherlandish School.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 32, repro.
Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1986: 7-12, repros. 8, 11.

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