An Interior Scene with a Seated Man and Woman and Two Children Playing and Fighting

WAG 1995.329


This drawing, although beautiful, has suffered damage over the years. There has been some pigment loss due to creasing and water damage for example. It has in the past been attributed to the Antwerp-based artist Dirck Jacobsz Vellert. He is perhaps most famous as a designer of stained glass and his designs for the monumental windows in King's College Chapel, Cambridge for Henry VIII. Although he was praised during his lifetime, his name and works were largely forgotten by the 17th century. The arched top to this drawing may be the rim of a circular edged design that has been clipped. However, Vellert's designs were usually on cream paper and only rarely did he use white heightening. He certainly never used it as distinctively as on this drawing. Here, enhanced by the blue of the paper, it simulates the shimmering surfaces of reflected light in a darkened interior from the fire, at which the man warms one of his hands behind his back. The elaborate costume and drapery is also more typical of some Antwerp Mannerists of the 1520s and 30s, whose work also influenced the paintings of the 'Master of Amiens', the so far unidentified artist based in northern France, to whom this drawing has also been attributed . Vellert also concentrated on religious themes, rather than this obscure, puzzling subject.