Thomas van der Wilt (Piershill 1659 – 1733 Delft)

Thomas van der Wilt

Thomas van der Wilt (Piershil 1659 – 1733 Delft)

Portrait of a lady, three-quarter length, in a brown coat

Oil on canvas, 54.4 x 44.2 cm (21.6 x 17.4 inch); presented in a modern carved and gilt frame of 18th-century model

Signed with monogram ‘T.V.W.’ (lower right)

Provenance
With Lincoln Graphic Gallery, 1972; anonymous sale, Phillips, London, 27 October 1987, lot 41 (Property of a Gentleman); private collection, United Kingdom

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Thomas van der Wilt was born in Piershil (near Spijkenisse) as the son of the cloth merchant Willem van der Wilt and his wife Emmerentia van der Staf.1 He received his artistic training from Jan Verkolje (1650–1693), who took Thomas under his care upon the recommendation of the engraver Jan Goeree, who had discovered the youngster’s talent. Van der Wilt settled in Delft, where he was the leading portrait painter in the first decades of the eighteenth century. Many prominent citizens sat for him, including Leiden burgomaster Adriaan van der Goes van Naters, as well as Haarlem burgomaster Cornelis Colterman, not to mention the well-known Amsterdam art collector Valerius Röver.

Van der Wilt was praised for his meticulous depiction of fine fabrics and carefully drawn hands, and his talent in these respects can be clearly seen in this work. Our painting may be compared to Van der Wilt's Portrait of Isabella Cornelis Pauw (1668 – 1697) in the Meermanno Museum in The Hague, painted around 1695 (fig.).2

Van der Wilt also painted the portrait of the Delft writer and poet Hubert Kornelisz Poot.3 Upon Van der Wilt’s death in 1733, Poot wrote the following lines on the painter:

‘Hier sluimert VANDER WILT, 't penseel ten roem geboren.
O gy, die kunst waerdeert, betreurt den schrandren man.
De schildermin, helaes! heeft meer aen hem verloren
Dan op den breedsten zerk de beitel schryven kan.’

SOLD TO A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

  1. For the artist, see Th. von Frimmel, ‘Zu Thomas van der Wilt’, Studien und Skizzen zur Gemäldekunde, 2/3-4 (1916), p. 65-66 and S.a., ‘Veelgevraagde Delftse portrettist en zijn opdrachtgever in Den Haag bekend’, The Hoogsteder Journal 1996, no. 1, pp. 4-7.
  2. Canvas, 53 x 44 cm, signed ’T vander wilt’ (on balustrade); inv. no. 15/26; R.E.O. Ekkart, Catalogus van de schilderijen in het Rijksmuseum Meermanno-Westreenianum, The Hague 1987, pp. 39-40, cat.no. 16.
  3. Oil grisaille on paper, 18.5 x 14.5 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-T-00-313.