A winter landscape with figures skating and playing kolf on a frozen river signed and dated 'I. van Ostade 1643' (on boat, lower right) oil on canvas 110 x 152cm (43 5/16 x 59 13/16in).
PROVENANCE: By descent to the present owners through the Windham, Dalling, and Meade families at Earsham Hall, Bungay, Suffolk, from the 18th and early 19th centuries.
This hitherto unrecorded work is representative of the mature winter landscapes which Ostade created in the 1640s and for which he became highly valued. The earliest examples of this genre, on panel, employ a darker tonal manner reminiscent of Jan van Goyen, while the present, larger and more ambitious design adopts a lighter overall tonality and stronger, lighter colour that typified his slightly later works. Other examples include the Louvre's Frozen Canal with Skaters of circa 1644, Winter Scene outside an Inn of circa 1646 in the National Gallery, London, and the Frozen Lake of 1648 in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg. In his choice of composition Isaac van Ostade's winter landscapes showed above all his debt to pure genre paintings and they continued to inspire later genre winter scenes, in particular Salomon van Ruysdael's and Philip Wouwerman's winter landscapes, which often included skaters, tents and horse-drawn sledges.