A guard house on the river signed 'A. Cuyp' (lower right) oil on panel 37.5 x 53.5cm (14 3/4 x 21 1/16in).
PROVENANCE: The Collection of Etienne François de Choiseul-Stainville, duc de Choiseul (1719-1785), Château de Chanteloup, Touraine, France The Collection of M. Lapeyrière, sale, Lacoste, Paris, 14 April 1817, lot 28 The Collection of George Affleck, from whom acquired with the Swinton Estate in 1882 by Samuel Cunliffe-Lister, later Lord Masham, and by descent until sold; Sale, Christie's, London, 28 November 1975, lot 53 With Agnew's, London Private Collection, Australia Sale, Christie's, London, 6 December 2007, lot 61
LITERATURE: J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., vol. V (London, 1834), no. 322 p. 322, no. 137 C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., vol. II (London, 1909), no. 167 'The Old Dordrecht Ferry House,' and no. 655, p. 196 H. Gerson, 'Albert Cuyps gezicht van het "Wachthuis in de Kil"', Opus musivum. Een bundel studies aageboden aan Professor Doctor M. D. Ozinga (Assen, 1964), pp. 257-69 S. Reiss, Aelbert Cuyp (London, 1975), no. 147, p. 191 (illustrating the engraving only) S. Reiss, 'The Old Guardhouse by Aelbert Cuyp', Burlington Magazine, February 1978, pp. 87-9, fig. 39 To be included in Alan Chong's forthcoming monograph
ENGRAVED: F. Basan, 1777, whilst in the collection of the duc de Choiseul
The guard house in the present picture appears in two other works by the artist: a large River landscape in the Collection of the Earl of Dartmouth (S. Reiss, op cit., no. 146, 1975) and a drawing in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, which is inscribed 'Het Oude Wagthuis in de Kil.' On the basis of this inscription, Horst Gerson concluded that these works must post-date the mid 1660s, since the land the guardhouse stands on was not reclaimed from the sea before then. However, Stephen Reiss does not accept so late a date and plausibly argues that the subject is another watchtower also in the vicinity of Dordrecht. This was not the result of land reclamation and thus Reiss concludes that it becomes possible to return this painting to the period which its style suggests: Cuyp's early maturity, circa 1647. Alan Chong agrees with this dating, although he is sceptical that the guardhouse can be specifically identified since 'The waterways around Dordrecht were littered with watchtowers which served as tollhouses and lighthouses, the tall, stepped pole being a platform for a beacon' (unpublished note).