GUILLAUME DE SPINNY (Brussels 1721 – 1785 The Hague)
Guillaume de Spinny (Brussels 1721 – 1785 The Hague)
Portrait of a Gentleman
Oil on canvas, oval, 72.5 x 58.5 cm; contained in the original giltwood Neoclassical frame
Signed and dated ‘Gme Spinny / fecit 1771’
Private collection, The Netherlands
Guillaume de Spinny was born in Brussels in 1721 and received his artistic training in Paris.1 By 1756 he established his studio in The Hague, where he joined the Confrerie Pictura in that year. Together with Benjamin Samuel Bolomey (1739–1819) and Tethart Philipp Christian Haag (1737–1785), De Spinny was among the leading portraits in the circles around the Stadtholder in The Hague around the middle of the eighteenth century.2 Interestingly, they were all born outside of the Netherlands and were representatives of an international courtly style, based on examples by portrait painters working at the leading European courts, notably in France and Vienna – Bolomey was born in Lausanne and Haag in Kassel (Hessen).
Many portraits by De Spinny are still owned by the descendants of the sitters, and some are in country and town house collections that are now open to the public, including examples in the Koninklijk Paleis (Paleis op de Dam) in Amsterdam, the Huis ten Bosch (Stichting Historische Verzamelingen van het Huis Oranje-Nassau) in The Hague, Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren, Huis Zypendaal in Arnhem, Slot Zuylen in Oud-Zuilen (Maarssen) and Museum Simon van Gijn in Dordrecht. Other works by the artist can be found in the collections of the Drents Museum, Assen, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Centraal Museum in Utrecht and the Kunstmuseum in The Hague. Our portrait can for instance be compared to the oval portrait of Elisabeth Maria van Neck (1741–1817) in the Schielandshuis (Rotterdam Museum), Rotterdam (fig.).3
The carved and gilded frame of Neoclassical design of this portrait is authentic. It was most probably supplied by De Spinny himself – identical frames can be found on two portraits by him in the collection of the Museum Meermanno, on portraits of Johan Adriaan van Westreenen (1721–1785) and his wife Maria Catharina Dierkens.4
1. For the artist, see Gérard de Wallens, Les peintres belges actifs à Paris au XVIIIe siècle à l’exemple de Jacques Francois Delyen, peintre ordinaire du roi, Brussels 2010, p. 299.
2. Laurent Golay a.o., Benjamin Samuel Bolomey, 1739-1819: een Zwitsers schilder aan het hof van stadhouder Willem V, Zwolle 2001, pp. 3, 43, 46.
3. Signed and dated ‘Gme Spinny fecit 1777’, oil on canvas, oval, 69.5 x 58 cm, inv. no. 27298.
4. Oil on canvas, oval, 72.5 x 58 cm, signed and dated ‘Gme Spinny fecit 1784’ and ‘Gm Spinny fecit 1770’ respectively, inv. nos. 26/10 and 27/11; R.E.O. Ekkart, Catalogus van de schilderijen in het Rijksmuseum Meermanno-Westreenianum, The Hague 1987, pp. 53-54, nos 25 and 28.