Dulwich Picture Gallery I


Studio of Anthony van Dyck DPG81

DPG81 – Charity

c. 1627–30; canvas, 141.9 x 105.4 cm

Insurance 1804, no. 112 (‘An Emblematical – Ditto (Vandyke)’, £400); Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 22, no. 215 (‘Drawing Room / no. 3; Charity – a female with 3 children Mr Methuen has a duplicate of this – C[anvas] Vandyck’; 6'3"; 5'’[with curved top]).

Cat. 1817, p. 8, no. 112 (‘SECOND ROOM – West Side; Charity; Vandyke’); Haydon 1817, p. 379, no. 112;1 Cat. 1820, p. 8, no. 112; Patmore 1824a, p. 193;2 Hazlitt 1824, p. 34 (see Hazlitt 1843); Patmore 1824b, pp. 30–31, no. 106;3 Smith 1829–42, iii (1831), p. 119, no. 425 (4);4 Cat. 1831–3, p. 7, no. 124 (‘+++’); Jameson 1842, ii, pp. 461–2, no. 124;5 Hazlitt 1843, p. 27;6 Bentley’s 1851, p. 347;7 Denning 1858, no. 124;8 Denning 1859, no. 124;9 Sparkes 1876, pp. 187–8, no. 124 (ascribed to Van Dyck); Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 52, no. 124 (school of Van Dyck, probably under the direction of the master); Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, pp. 20–21, no. 81; Cust 1900, p. 68 (repetition of original in Turin); Schaeffer 1909, pp. 68, 409, 541; Cook 1914, pp. 45–7, no. 81;10 Cook 1926, pp. 43–4, no. 81; Glück 1931, pp. 259 (fig.), 546–7 (ziemlich derbe Werkstattarbeit (rather coarse workshop work)); Cat. 1953, p. 41, no. 81; Ostrowski 1977/1981, p. 50, fig. 41;11 Murray 1980a, p. 56 (studio of Van Dyck); Murray 1980b, p. 13; Larsen 1980a, ii, p. 100, under no. 641 (Swiss version); Larsen 1988, ii, pp. 279–80 (copy), 461, A160/1; Vermeeren 1997, p. 254 (note 34);12 Beresford 1998, p. 100 (studio copy); Vey 2004, p. 298, III.64 (2): Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 90–91 (studio of Anthony van Dyck); RKD, no. 292802: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/292802 (Jan. 3, 2019).

Medium plain-weave linen canvas. There is a red ground with a grey priming layer above. There is no ultramarine in this painting: the artist has employed indigo in the drapery, and smalt in the sky. Glue-paste lined; the original tacking margins are present and the paint surface extends over the turns. There are two mended tears. There is some secure raised cupping in the background. The sky is very worn behind the middle child’s head and the blue smalt has discoloured. This work compares closely with the National Gallery version, but there are some differences, notably the fact that the National Gallery version is painted on panel; there is also a change in position of the red drapery held by Charity’s proper right hand. Previous recorded treatment: 1948–53, conserved, Dr Hell; 1993, flaking paint consolidated, N. Ryder; 2004–5, relined, cleaned and restored, S. Plender; 2005, technical report, L. Sheldon.

1a) Anthony van Dyck, Charity, pen, brush and wash in brown and grey over black chalk on blue-green paper, 167 x 150 mm. Printroom, Louvre, Paris, 19912 (recto) [1].13
1b) Jan de Bisschop after Anthony van Dyck, Charity, graphite and wash, 354 x 280 mm. SMK, Copenhagen, 276.14
1c) After Anthony van Dyck, Charity (head only), black chalk, heightened with white on blue paper, 237 x 257 mm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 2319 F.15
1d) Anthony van Dyck, Charity (een schetse Caritas wit en swart van Van Dijck ƒ7 (a sketch of Charity in white and black, 7 guilders)), drawing (or oil sketch?). Present whereabouts unknown (Alexander Voet collection, Antwerp, 1685).16

2a) Prime version, Anthony van Dyck, Charity, c. 1627–8, panel, 148.2 x 107.5 cm. NG, London, NG6494 [2].17
2b) Copy: canvas, 124.5 x 108 cm. Museum Schloss Mosigkau, near Dessau (Henriette Catharina of Nassau Orange).18
2c) Copy: canvas, 144 x 115 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, no. 3682.19
2d) Copy: canvas, 4' x 3'6". Present whereabouts unknown (Thomas Hope, The Deepdene).20
2e) Copy: canvas, 119 x 103 cm. Private collection, Switzerland.21
2f) Copy: Forbes collection, Oxford, 1977.
2g) Copy: Private collection, California.22
2h) Copy: Guy Poelvoorde collection, Bruges.
2i) Copy: canvas, 149 x 105 cm. Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu.
2j) Copy: canvas, 133 x 111.5 cm. Hammersmith and Fulham Archives and Local History Centre, London, 212.23
3a) Anthony van Dyck, Charity. Present whereabouts unknown (collection of Stadholder Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms, Noordeinde Palace, The Hague, 1667 inventory: Een schilderije sijnde eene Charitas, bij Van Dijck gemaeckt (A painting being a Charity, made by Van Dyck)).24
3b) (Copy after?) Anthony van Dyck. Present whereabouts unknown (Methuen collection, Corsham Court; Mandl collection, Wiesbaden).25
3c) Copy: present whereabouts unknown (Sotheby’s, 10 July 2002, lot 4).
3d) Copy: present whereabouts unknown, canvas, 41.5 x 30.8 cm (Lempertz, Cologne, 20 May 2006, lot 1046; Karl, Count Lanckoronski collection, Vienna).26
4) Copy (by Sir Joshua Reynolds?) after the print by Cornelis van Caukercken after Anthony van Dyck (Related works, no. 5a), sketch, panel, 21 x 24 cm. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, PT 256 [3].27

5a) (in reverse) Cornelis van Caukercken after Anthony van Dyck (Related works, no. 2a), Charity, inscriptions, engraving, worden 433 x 310 mm, RPK, RM, Amsterdam, RP-P-BI-5670 [4].28
5b) Engraving W. W. Ryland.29

Other artists
6a) Ferdinand Bol, Charity, signed and dated F Bol 1658, canvas, 127 x 104 cm. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 283.30
6b) Jan Hermansz. van Bijlert, Woman and Children (Allegory of Charity), signed J v bijlert. fet, canvas, 102.5 x 85.5 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Quimper, 86-4.31
6c) Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lady Cockburn and her Three Eldest Sons, signed and dated J REYNOLDS:PINX and 1773, canvas, 141.5 x 113 cm. NG, London, NG2077.32
6d) Antwerp painter, An Art Gallery, c. 1670. Present whereabouts unknown (Sotheby’s, 10 July 2002, lot 4).33
6e) Jacob Mattheus Cressant (1734–94), Caritas, signed Jacob.s CRESSANT F., terracotta, h. 33.5 cm. Staatliche Museen, Kassel, B VI 35.34

Lent to RA to be copied in 1875.

DPG81, which depicts an allegorical figure of Charity, is a workshop copy of one of Van Dyck’s most popular compositions. Along with Faith and Hope, Charity is one of the three Theological Virtues listed by St Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (13:13). Van Dyck followed the established convention for depicting Charity, which since the medieval period had been to depict the virtue as a young woman accompanied by small children.

It seems that there were once two rather similar compositions, since in some of the copies instead of the wall on the left there is a rock face and instead of the curtain on the right there is a tree. DPG81 is a copy of the best-known of the surviving autograph versions, now in the National Gallery, London (Related works, no. 2a) [2]. A comparison between the two quickly shows that the figures in DPG81 are less well executed. Van Dyck devised the composition in Antwerp shortly after his return from Italy in 1627. The poses reveal the influence of contemporary Italian painters such as Guido Reni, while the colouring reflects the late works of Titian.35 A preparatory sketch by Van Dyck in the Louvre reveals his struggle in finding the composition (Related works, no. 1a) [1].

As can be seen from the list above, which cannot be complete, many copies of the composition are recorded. It was extremely popular in late 18th- and early 19th-century England: in 1773 Reynolds based his portrait of Lady Cockburn and her Three Eldest Sons (Related works, no. 6c) on it, and more than a dozen copies are recorded on the London art market alone between 1800 and 1840.

DPG81 is first documented in the collection of Sir Francis Bourgeois in 1813. With so many copies and versions on the market in Bourgeois’ and Desenfans’ lifetimes it has proved impossible to identify the painting’s earlier provenance.

The painting also features in a picture of an art gallery by an unknown Antwerp painter, c. 1670 (Related works, no. 6d).

studio of Anthony van Dyck
Charity, c. 1627-1630
canvas, oil paint 141,9 x 105,4 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG81

Anthony van Dyck
Charity, c. 1627-1630
paper, black chalk, brown ink, brown and grey wash 167 x 150 mm
Paris, Musée du Louvre, inv./cat.nr. 19912, Recto

Anthony van Dyck
The personification of the theological virtue Charity, c. 1627-1628
panel, oil paint 148 x 107,5 cm
London, National Gallery (London), inv./cat.nr. 6494

after Anthony van Dyck after Cornelis van Caukercken (I) after Anthony van Dyck
The personification of the theological virtue Charity, 1628-1632
panel, grisaille 21 x 24 cm
Oxford (England), Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, inv./cat.nr. PT 256

Cornelis van Caukercken (I) after Anthony van Dyck published by Abraham van Diepenbeeck
Charity, 1640-1680
paper, engraving 433 x 310 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-BI-5670


1 ‘Sir Anth. van Dyck. Charity. The originality of this picture is very doubtful; for the hands, the feet, the thumbs, those undoubted tests of originality, particularly of such a master as Van Dyck, are here slovened over in a way never seen in a genuine work of Van Dyck; yet the colouring and other parts of the work are good in their kind. Mr. Methuen has a duplicate, perhaps the entire original of this; we say entire original, for there is doubtlessly much of Van Dyck’s pencil in this picture.’

2 ‘Nos 106 [DPG81] and 118 [DPG90] are perhaps two of the very best pictures of Vandyck in the ideal style. The delineation of Nature – refined, but yet real nature – was his forte; but still he has painted a few ideal works that are exceedingly fine – and these must be ranked among the number.’

3 ‘Nos 106 [DPG81] and 118 [DPG90] […] These strike me as being two of the very best pictures by Vandyke, of the ideal class. The delineation of Nature – refined, but yet real Nature – was his forte; but still he has painted a few ideal works that are exceedingly fine – and these two must be ranked among the number. No. 118 […] p. 31 […] No. 106, representing Charity, is of the same size, and forms a fit companion to the other, but it is more mannered, and not near so refined. The children, in particular, are very inferior to that noticed above.’

4 ‘Charity. […] 4 ft. 9 in. by 3 ft. 9 in. – C. Value 800 gs. Engraved by Caukerken and W. W. Ryland. Now in the collection of Paul Methuen, Esq. A Duplicate of the preceding, with trifling variations, is in the collection of Thomas Hope, Esq. 4 ft. by 3 ft. 6 in. – C (about). A third picture […] is in the collection of the Earl of Lonsdale. And a fourth is in the Dulwich Gallery.’

5 ‘Of this fine subject Van Dyck has painted several repetitions; one is in the collection of Lord Methuen, another in that of Lord Lonsdale [at Lowther Castle] and a third is in the possession of Mr Hope. Engraved by Caukerken, and by W. Ryland.’

6 See note DPG173, note 10 above.

7 ‘The allegorical group (No. 124) by Vandyck, representing “Charity,” I do not so much admire. The attitudes look artificial and exaggerated; and the tone of colour displays little or nothing of the master’s usual purity.’

8 ‘(ascribed to) Vandyke [inserted: Van Dyck] Smith 425. This has been engraved by Caukerken and by W [inserted: W] Ryland. Cf: Smith’s Catalogue. 425. & Suppl: no: 125. “A memorandum in the Lowther Collection states that this picture was painted as a companion to a Holy Family, by Rubens, for a M: Gobou of Antwerp, and that the modest artist hesitated executing the order, until he had received the sanction of his master Rubens, who stated, in answer to [unreadable] an? Application for that purpose, that his multitudinous Engagements prevented him executing the order for the pair.”’

9 ‘Ascribed to Antony van Dyck. Van Dyck repeated this subject several times. Smith, in his Catalogue Raisonné (no: 425 and Supplement 125.) tells us that one was in the Collection of P. Methuen Esqre another in that of Mr Hope, a third at Lowther Castle, while this makes the fourth. He also says that a memorandum in the Lowther Collection states that Lord Lonsdale’s picture, (probably the original) “was painted as a companion to a Holy Family, by Rubens, for a M: Gobou of Antwerp, and that the modest artist hesitated executing the order, until he had received the sanction of his master Rubens, who stated, in answer to an application for that purpose, that his multitudinous Engagements prevented him executing the order for the pair.” Still there are doubts whether this really was painted by Van Dyck, and some good judges can detect the hand of Sir F. Bourgeois in parts of the picture. It has been engraved by Cornelius Van Caukerken and by W. W. Ryland.’

10 ‘The type of Charity which is here given, and which was generally adopted by northern painters (as, for instance, by Reynolds) is Spenser’s (Faerie Queen, i.10, 30) […] Van Dyck painted several repetitions of his “Charity”. […] Our picture was probably painted by an assistant, under the master’s direction. Of this picture and of No. 90 Hazlitt said that Van Dyck “never produced anything more complete. They have the softness of air, the solidity of marble; the pencil appears to float and glide over the features of the face, the folds of the drapery, with easy volubility, but to mark everything with a precision, a force, a grace indescribable. Truth seems to hold the pencil, and elegance to guide it.”’

11 Ostrowski suggests that Valerio Castello in his Holy Family (private collection, Genoa, fig. 42) had taken the postures of Christ and St John from Van Dyck´s DPG81.

12 Vermeeren assumes wrongly that the Caritas which was in the collection of Stadholder Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms ended up in Dulwich, but it is not clear where that went after 1747: see note 25 below.

13 RKD, no. 293209: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/293209 (Feb. 20, 2019); http://arts-graphiques.louvre.fr/detail/oeuvres/1/110060-Charite-humaine (Aug. 2, 2020); Vey 2004, p. 298, under no. III.64; Vey 1962, i, pp. 200–201, no. 133, ii, fig. 171.

14 Photo RKD (neg. Copenhagen Museum, no. 7225); Van Gelder 1959a, pp. 77, 79 (fig. 27).

15 RKD, no. 12736: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/12736 (Nov. 14, 2018). 

16 Vey 2004, p. 298.

17 RKD, no. 285292: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/285292 (Dec. 21, 2018). Provenance: Georges-Alexandre Goubau (d. 1760/61), Antwerp; acquired from his estate by Sir James Lowther, later Earl of Lonsdale, 1763/4; by descent to the 7th Earl of Lonsdale, Lowther Castle, until 1984. Vey 2004, p. 298, III.64; Roy 1999a, pp. 63–6; Larsen 1988, ii, pp. 461–2, A 160/3 (no fig.); Smith 1829–42, iii (1831), p. 119, no. 425 (3), see note 4. See also notes 8 and 9.

18 Vey 2004, p. 298, III.64 (3); Walsh 1994, pp. 233–4 (fig. 10); Van Gelder 1959a, pp. 77–8 (fig. 26).

19 Vey 2004, p. 298, III.64 (4); Ferino-Pagden, Prohaska & Schütz 1991, p. 54, pl. 423. According to this last publication this is a copy after the version in a Swiss private collection (Related works, no. 2e). See also note 21.

20 Smith 1829–42, iii (1831), p. 119, no. 425 (2).

21 RKD, no. 48747: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/48747 (Nov. 14, 2018). Larsen 1988, ii, pp. 279–80, no. 693 (fig.), suggests that this is an original by Van Dyck.

22 Copy of a letter from E. H. Moorhouse (810 E 7th St., Los Angeles, California) to Dulwich College Gallery, received 21/5/1937 (photo returned to College; DPG81 file).

23 https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/charity-179054/search/actor:van-dyck-anthony-15991641-56612/sort_by/name.keyword/order/asc/page/3 (Jan. 9, 2019).

24 After the death of Amalia in 1675 valued at ƒ3,000 (Vermeeren 1997, pp. 65, 254 (note 34)); then to Albertine Agnes, daughter of Amalia; Leeuwarden inventory, 1681; bequeathed to William III of England, 1696, at Het Loo, 1713, his sale, Amsterdam, 26 July 1713 (Lugt 242; Hoet 1752, i, pp. 149–50), lot 4: De Liefde met vier Beelden, mede door Van Dyk, kragtig geschildert, hoog 5 voet, breet vier voet (Love/Charity with four figures, also by Van Dyck, painted powerfully, 144 x 114 cm); ƒ3,125 to Markus Bavelaer for James Brydges of Chandos (GPID [20 July 2013]); his sale, 6–8 May 1747 (Lugt 665), lot 142, unknown, £87. According to Jonckheere (2005, ii, pp. 235–6, lot 4, and 2008, p. 246, no. 4), who gives the same provenance, the picture was then sold at Christie’s, 5 May 1920, from the collection of Lord Methuen, in which collection it was already in 1813 (as Britton 1813 mentions, under Provenance).

25 Vey 2004, p. 298, III.64 (1); Larsen 1988, ii, p. 461, A 160/2 (fig.); Smith 1829–42, iii (1831), p. 118, no. 425 (1). See note 4; according to Vey, lost. According to Vermeeren (1997, pp. 65–7) and Jonkheere (2008 p. 246, no. 4) this picture was once in the collection of Stadholder Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms. But that is not possible, since the Methuen picture was already in the Methuen collection in 1813. See Related works, no. 3a, and the preceding note.

26 RKD, no. 186192: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/186192 (Nov. 14, 2018).

27 RKD, no. 48628: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/48628 (Nov. 14, 2018); from the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds; White 1999a, pp. 47–8, no. A 174; Larsen 1988, ii, p. 280, no. 694 (fig.; Van Dyck, perhaps retouched by Sir Joshua Reynolds); Larsen 1980a, ii, no. 642 (Van Dyck but retouched by Sir Joshua Reynolds). See also Depauw & Luijten 1999, p. 277, fig. 6.

28 https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_R-2-57 (Aug. 2, 2020).

29 Murray 1980a, p. 56 (as Ryland); Cook 1926, p. 45 (as W. Ryland); Cook 1914, p. 47; Richter & Sparkes 1892, p. 21; Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 52; Jameson 1842, p. 462 (as W. Ryland); Smith 1829–42, iii (1831), p. 119, no. 425 (as W. W. Ryland). Probably William Wynne Ryland (1732–83) is meant; and probably Smith made a mistake (repeated until Murray 1980), because there is indeed a print by Ryland after the original of DPG352 (The Infants Christ and St John the Baptist). However no print by Ryland after the original of DPG81 has surfaced so far.

30 RKD, no. 293258: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/293258 (Feb. 22, 2019); Senenko 2009, p. 58, no. 283; Blankert 1982b, pp. 47–8, 106, no. 41 (pl. 36); after the drawing by Jan de Bisschop (Related works, no. 1b) or the original in the collection of the House of Orange (see Related works, no. 3a).

31 383 RKD, no. 92 : https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/92 (Dec. 21, 2018); Van Berge 1987, pp. xxvii (fig.), 6–7, no. 4 (J. Foucart).

32 Egerton 1998, pp. 210–17.

33 Vey 2004, p. 298.

34 RKD, no. 293616: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/293616 (April 23, 2019).

35 Büttner (2018a, vol. 1, pp. 358, 361 [n. 40], under no. 46) discusses Van Dyck’s principael in relation to Rubens’s Charity of c. 1613, now in Pommersfelden, which is however a rather different composition: to mention only a few differences, the woman is looking down (Van Dyck’s woman is looking up to heaven, as Büttner also notes) and putting her right arm around one baby of four (Van Dyck’s picture has three), while the woman in Van Dyck’s picture uses her right arm to pull her red dress up elegantly. The Reni picture in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, that is also mentioned as inspiration for Rubens (ibid.) is dated by Büttner c. 1607, whereas the museum dates it c. 1630: see https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437422?&searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Reni&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=1 (Sept. 19, 2019).

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