HENDRIK VAN DER STRAATEN (Northern Netherlands c. 1665 – 1722 London)

Hendrik van der Straaten

Hendrik van der Straaten (Northern Netherlands c. 1665 – 1722 London)

Herdsmen resting beside Ruins

Herdsmen crossing a Bridge in a Rocky Landscape

Black chalk and coloured wash on paper, fragmentary watermark shield with letter ‘W’ below, each 136 x 184 mm (5.4 x 7.2 inch)

The first drawing signed ‘H v Straaten’ (along the lower edge)

~ William Benoni White (died c. 1878), his mark (L. 2592) along the lower edge of the signed drawing
~ Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 18 November 1985, lot 143, where purchased by:
~ The Canadian architect and collector Charles Greenberg (1922-2006)


This pair of charming drawings of herdsmen in idyllic Italianate or Alpine mountainous landscapes are rare works by the elusive artist Hendrik van der Straaten. Born somewhere in the Northern Netherlands (most likely in Haarlem) around 1665, Henrik became a member of the Haarlem guild of St Luke in 1687. His known oeuvre shows an awareness of the works of Nicolaes Berchem (1620-1683) and other Haarlem-based Italianate painters. Also known as De la Rue (Straat is Dutch for street), the artist emigrated to England at some stage and is considered a pioneer of English landscape painting.1

Van der Straaten is best known for his Italianate landscape drawings, which are generally washed in watercolour by the artist himself, and often survive in pairs. They were executed as works of art in their own right, and were avidly sought after by collectors of ‘papierconst’. Comparable pairs of watercolour landscapes are preserved in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt,2 and in the collections of the Universität Göttingen (Niedersachsen, Germany).3


1. See M.H. Grant, A Chronological History of the Old English Landscape Painters (in oil), Leigh-on-Sea 1957, p. 77-78.
2. Inv. nos. AE839 and AE840; each 128 x 208 mm, one signed ‘d rue’.
3. Inv. nos Sammlung Uffenbach H170 and H171; each 203 x 309 mm, one signed ‘d rue’; see G. Unverfehrt, N. Büttner a.o., Katalog der Zeichnungen. Kunstsammlung der Universität Göttingen, Munich 1999 (CD-ROM), no. 15501668, repr.