Dutch Gift

The Dutch Gift of 1660 was a collection of 28 mostly Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

 paintings and 12 classical sculptures, along with a yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

, the Mary
HMY Mary
HMY Mary was the first Royal Yacht of the Royal Navy. She was built in 1660 by the Dutch East India Company. Then she was purchased by the City of Amsterdam and given to King Charles II, on the restoration of the monarchy, as part of the Dutch Gift. She struck rocks off Anglesey in thick fog on...

, and furniture, which was presented to King Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 by the States-General of the Netherlands
States-General of the Netherlands
The States-General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The parliament meets in at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The archaic Dutch word "staten" originally related to the feudal classes in which medieval...

 in 1660. In July 1660 Louis of Nassau
Louis of Nassau, lord of den Lek and Beverweerd
Louis of Nassau, Lord of De Lek and Beverweerd was a Dutch soldier. He was the illegitimate son of Margaretha van Mechelen and Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, and so a collateral member of the House of Orange-Nassau. He was a Lord of the heerlijkheid De Lek and Beverweerd...

 arrived in London; his countrymen Simon van Hoorn, curator of the Athenaeum Illustre, Michiel van Gogh from Vlissingen and the (catholic) Joachim Ripperda arrived in November to negociate the Act of Navigation and to present Charles II the Gift The collection was given to Charles II to mark his return to power in the English Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

, before which Charles had spent many years in exile in the Paris, Cologne, and Spanish Netherlands, during the rule of the English Commonwealth. It was intended to strengthen diplomatic relations between England and the Republic, but only a few years after the gift the two nations would be at war again in the Second Anglo-Dutch War
Second Anglo-Dutch War
The Second Anglo–Dutch War was part of a series of four Anglo–Dutch Wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes....

 of 1665–67.

Most of the paintings and all the Roman sculptures were from the Reynst collection
Reynst Collection
The Reynst Collection, probably the most extensive 17th century collection of art and artefacts, was owned by the Dutch merchants Gerrit Reynst and Jan Reynst. The collection was put on display in their house at the sign of Hope on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam...

, the most important seventeenth-century Dutch collection of paintings of the Italian sixteenth century, formed in Venice by Jan Reynst
Jan Reynst
Jan Reynst was a Protestant Dutch merchant in Amsterdam and, with his elder brother Gerrit, an art collector. In 1625 he went to Venice...

 (1601–1646) and extended by his brother, Gerrit Reynst
Gerrit Reynst
Gerrit Reynst was, like his younger brother Jan , a Dutch merchant and art collector from Amsterdam. He was an alderman and member of the town council, entering it in 1646.-The Collection:Gerrit's collection included Italian old-master paintings and antiquities, such as by Johann Liss...

 (1599–1658). The gift reflected the taste Charles shared with his father, Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, whose large collection, one of the most magnificent in Europe, had mostly been sold abroad after he was executed in 1649. Charles II was not as keen a collector as his father, but appreciated art and was later able to recover a good number of the items from the pre-war collection that remained in England, as well as purchasing many further paintings, and many significant old master
Old Master
"Old Master" is a term for a European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print made by an artist in the same period...


Some decades later, there was a reverse movement when 36 paintings from the English Royal Collection
Royal Collection
The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family. It is property of the monarch as sovereign, but is held in trust for her successors and the nation. It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as historical...

, including at least one of those given in 1660, were taken by the Dutch King William III of England
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 to his Dutch palace of Het Loo
Het Loo
Het Loo Palace is a palace in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The symmetrical Dutch Baroque building was designed by Jacob Roman and Johan van Swieten and was built between 1684 and 1686 for stadtholder-king William III and Mary II of England...

. His English successor, Queen Anne, tried to recover these after William's death in 1702, but failed, and they mostly remain in Dutch public collections. Fourteen paintings from the 1660 gift remain in the Royal Collection, with others now in different collections around the world.

The gift

The 24 Italian paintings and the 12 sculptures had been part of the Reynst Collection assembled by Gerrit Reynst (also known as Gerard Reynst) and his brother Jan Reynst, who had been based in Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 for many years. Much of the collection originated from the famous Vendramin
The Vendramin were a rich merchant family of Venice, Italy, who were among the case nuove or "new houses" who joined the patrician class when the Libro d'Oro was opened after the battle of Chioggia...

 family collection there, though others had been acquired separately. After the death of Gerrit Reynst in 1658, his widow sold a selection of the finest works in the collection to the States-General in 1660 for the then considerable sum of 80,000 guilder
Guilder is the English translation of the Dutch gulden — from Old Dutch for 'golden'. The guilder originated as a gold coin but has been a common name for a silver or base metal coin for some centuries...


In 1660 this group and twelve Roman sculptures was presented to Charles II, augmented by four non-Italian works. The gift was organized by the regents
In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the regenten were the rulers of the Dutch Republic, the leaders of the Dutch cities or the heads of organisations . Though not formally a hereditary "class", they were de facto "patricians", comparable to that ancient Roman class...

, especially the powerful Cornelis de Graeff
Cornelis de Graeff
Cornelis de Graeff, also Cornelis de Graeff van Polsbroek was the most illustrious member of the De Graeff family. He was a mayor of Amsterdam from the Dutch Golden Age and a powerful Amsterdam regent after the sudden death of stadholder William II of Orange...

 and his younger brother Andries
Andries de Graeff
Free Imperial Knight Andries de Graeff was a very powerful member of the Amsterdam branch of the De Graeff - family during the Dutch Golden Age. He became a mayor of Amsterdam and a powerful Amsterdam regent after the death of his older brother Cornelis de Graeff...

. The sculptures for the gift were selected by the pre-eminent sculptor in the Netherlands, Artus Quellinus
Artus Quellinus
Artus Quellinus also known as Artus Quellijn, Artus I Quellinus or Artus Quellinus the Elder , was a Flemish sculptor.-Life:...

, and Gerrit van Uylenburgh
Gerrit van Uylenburgh
Gerrit van Uylenburgh , or Gerrit Uylenburgh, was a Dutch Golden Age painter and art-dealer. He was the eldest son of Hendrick van Uylenburgh and took over the family art-dealing business after Hendrick's death and burial in the Westerkerk church in 1661...

, the son of Rembrandt's dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh
Hendrick van Uylenburgh
Hendrick van Uylenburgh was an influential Dutch Golden Age art dealer who helped launch the careers of Rembrandt, Govert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol and other painters....

, advised the States-General on the purchase. Much later he was to flee from financial difficulties to England and become Surveyor of the King's Pictures to Charles, from 1676 until his death three years later. The gift was unpopular with many of the Dutch people, and became a bone of contention between the Dutch political factions.


Previous diplomatic "Dutch Gifts" had been presented to Henry, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales was the elder son of King James I & VI and Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Frederick II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's throne...

 in 1610, and to Charles I in 1636, the latter including six horses and a state carriage, four paintings, a fine watch, a chest veneered with mother-of-pearl and a precious lump of ambergris
Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated or secreted by sperm whales....

The Italian paintings

Fourteen important Italian paintings from the Dutch Gift, all previously in the Reynst Collection, remain in the Royal Collection, including:
  • Titian
    Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

    's Portrait of Jacopo Sannazaro, c. 1514–18, and The Virgin and Child in a landscape with Tobias and the Angel (with his workshop, c. 1535–40) - this last was Charles' favourite, according to the Dutch ambassadors sent with the gift.
  • Lorenzo Lotto
    Lorenzo Lotto
    Lorenzo Lotto was a Northern Italian painter draughtsman and illustrator, traditionally placed in the Venetian school. He painted mainly altarpieces, religious subjects and portraits...

    's portrait of Andrea Odoni, 1527, and his Portrait of a bearded man, c. 1512–15
  • Andrea Schiavone
    Andrea Schiavone
    Andrea Meldolla , also known as Andrea Schiavone or Andrea Lo Schiavone was an Italian Renaissance painter and etcher, born in present-day Croatia, active mainly in the city of Venice.-Biography:...

    's Judgement of Midas, c. 1548–50, and Christ before Pilate.
  • Giulio Romano
    Giulio Romano
    Giulio Romano was an Italian painter and architect. A pupil of Raphael, his stylistic deviations from high Renaissance classicism help define the 16th-century style known as Mannerism...

    , Portrait of Margherita Palaeologa, c.1531
  • Parmigianino
    Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola , also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino or sometimes "Parmigiano", was an Italian Mannerist painter and printmaker active in Florence, Rome, Bologna, and his native city of Parma...

    , Pallas Athene, c. 1531–8
  • Paolo Veronese
    Paolo Veronese
    Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

     and workshop, The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1562–9.
  • Attributed to Vittore Belliniano
    Vittore Belliniano
    Vittore Belliniano was an Italian painter of the Renaissance considered to be identical with Bellini Bellini and Vittore di Matteo. He was a native of Venice, active c. the year 1525. He painted historical subjects, and several of his pictures were painted for the Scuola di San Marco at Venice and...

    , The Concert, c. 1505–15 (then attributed to Giorgione
    Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

  • Giovanni Cariani
    Giovanni Cariani
    Giovanni Cariani , also known as Giovanni Busi or Il Cariani, was an Italian painter of the high-Renaissance, active in Venice and the Venetian mainland, including Bergamo, thought to be his native city.- Overview :...

    , Reclining Venus, the only work in the Dutch gift which can be traced back to the Vendramin collection.

The Reynst collection included a Genius of Painting attributed to Guido Reni
Guido Reni
Guido Reni was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.-Biography:Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that...

, and the older of two old copies still in the Royal Collection is first recorded at Whitehall Palace in an inventory of 1688, and described as by Reni. It is now classed as "after Reni" though no Reni original is known. Whether this, or an original work, formed part of the Gift cannot be confirmed, although one or the other seems likely.

Paintings no longer in the Royal Collection include a Guercino, Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon (1624), now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the largest museums in the United States, attracting over one million visitors a year. It contains over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas...

, which was given by Charles to Barbara Villiers, his mistress, or to their son, Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland
Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland
Charles Palmer, later FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland, 1st Duke of Southampton, Chief Butler of England , styled Baron Limerick before 1670 and Earl of Southampton between 1670 and 1675, was the eldest son of Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine and the illegitimate son of King...

. Jacopo Bassano
Jacopo Bassano
Jacopo Bassano , known also as Jacopo dal Ponte, was an Italian painter who was born and died in Bassano del Grappa near Venice, from which he adopted the name.- Life :...

's Christ carrying the Cross is now in the National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

, having been given to Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II.She married the king in 1662...

, Charles's queen, after his death.

Two religious works, besides the Bassano, were recorded in an inventory of 1688/9 as being in Catherine's apartments, one "said to be Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

" of the Holy Family
Holy Family
The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph.The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family...

 with a lamb, and a group attributed to Titian of "Our Saviour with his feet on a cushion, The B. Virgin St John and St Elizabeth". These may have returned with her to Portugal in 1692.

The other works

Of the four non-Italian works, two were by Gerrit Dou, one of which, The Young Mother (1658), was only two years old when presented. The regents of the city of Leiden may have chosen The Young Mother to augment the yacht Mary as a means to encourage Charles to look after the interests of the House of Orange in the Netherlands, which had lost effective political power in 1650. At the time of the Restoration, Charles' aunt Mary
Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Mary, Princess Royal, Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau was the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland and his queen, Henrietta Maria of France...

 was in perilous political waters as the guardian of her son, Prince William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

. This was one of those works repatriated by William III and is now in the Mauritshuis
The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is an art museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Previously the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, it now has a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...


A heavily damaged version of The Mocking of Ceres by Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer was a German artist working in Rome who died at only thirty-two, but was very influential in the early 17th century. His relatively few paintings were small scale, nearly all painted on copper plates, of the type often known as cabinet paintings. They include a variety of light...

 (c. 1605), long thought to be a copy, but now seen as the original of this rare and important work, surfaced in the English art market in the 1970s and is now in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and is operated by Queen's University. The centre holds 12-15 exhibitions annually, as well as artists' talks and performances, public lectures, symposia, workshops, and school and family programs...

 in Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

. The composition is known from a copy in the Prado and an engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

, and the painting was still in the Royal Collection during the reign of George II. The damage was apparently caused by fire, perhaps in the 1698 fire of the Palace of Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

, when a considerable part of the Royal Collection
Royal Collection
The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family. It is property of the monarch as sovereign, but is held in trust for her successors and the nation. It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as historical...

 was lost, probably including most of the statues in the 1660 Gift, though at least one of these remains in England.

The fourth non-Italian painting was a work by Pieter Jansz Saenredam
Pieter Jansz Saenredam
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam was a painter of the Dutch Golden Age, known for his distinctive paintings of whitewashed church interiors.-Biography:...

, a recent (1648) and unusually large topographical painting of the Groote Kerk, Haarlem
The Grote Kerk or St.-Bavokerk is a Protestant church and former Catholic cathedral located on the central market square in the Dutch city of Haarlem...

, which might have been intended to cement feelings of grateful nostalgia in Charles. This was apparently given to one of William III's Dutch courtiers, William van Huls, Clerk of the Robes and Wardrobe, as it appeared in his sale; it is now in the National Gallery of Scotland
National Gallery of Scotland
The National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is the national art gallery of Scotland. An elaborate neoclassical edifice, it stands on The Mound, between the two sections of Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens...


External links

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