This striking portrait of a young woman, likely a citizen of Rotterdam, is an archetypal example of the genre of Dutch 17th century portraits made to commemorate a marriage, and undoubtedly this is the case with our exquisitely dressed young woman. As a wealthy married woman of the Rotterdam merchant class, our sitter is dressed in a three-piece vlieger costume, comprising the damask vlieger - a mantle-like overgown – worn over a damask skirt and a splendid satin stomacher, richly embroidered with floral motifs. The three-piece vlieger costume became the standard attire in portraits of women of the civic élite in the period 1600 – 1640. The vlieger was in fact a Dutch variant of the Spanish ropa, and was the trademark of a prosperous, married burgher woman. She wears a wide millstone ruff edged with fine lace, framing her superbly modelled head. The sitter’s hands, like her face, are keenly and the naturalism with which she is rendered, endow this woman with a substantial presence.
Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram (1822 – 1871), at Temple Newsam, Leeds, West Yorkshire; his widow,
The Hon. Emily Charlotte Meynell Ingram, née Wood, (1840 – 1904);
her nephew, Edward Frederick Lindley Wood (1881 – 1959), 1st Earl of Halifax, styled Lord Irwin 1925 – 1934, & Viscount Halifax 1934 – 1944; thence by descent;
Christie’s London, 13 December 1996, lot 15;
Private Collection, England.
The identification of Jan Daemon Cool as the leading portrait painter in Rotterdam during the second quarter of the seventeenth century has only recently been established by Rudolf Ekkart. Until 1997 the Rotterdam portraitist, who never signed his paintings, was known definitively by two portraits: the now lost portrait of Pieter Pietersz. Hein of 1629, and the group portrait depicting the The Regents and Steward of The Holy Ghost Hospital in Rotterdam of 1653. This latter group portrait provided a crucial starting point in the reconstruction of the artist’s oeuvre, as its authorship is affirmed by archive records. From Ekkart’s study of Rotterdam portraits dating from 1620 and 1660, examined in relation to The Regents and Steward of The Holy Ghost Hospital in Rotterdam, a closely related group of portraits emerged which were clearly executed by the same hand; this group has been established as the core oeuvre by the artist, dating from 1629 to 1654.
Of particular importance in Cool’s oeuvre and key to the attribution of the present portrait is a group of four superb and innovative family portraits painted in a six year period between 1631 and 1637, Unknown Family of 1631; A Dutch Family Group (Portrait of a Man, Woman and Two Girls) and A Dutch Family Group (Portrait of Two Boys) (two fragments of the same painting) of 1633; Eeuwout Prins and his Family of c. 1634 – 5; and finally, Onbeekende familie of 1637. All of these family portraits – hitherto usually attributed to Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (1594 – ?1652) – are situated within a landscape, and constitute an important advance in the evolution of this type of family group in Dutch portraiture.
Although the paintings of Cool have an affinity with the work of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt (1567 – 1641) and Jan Anthonisz. van Ravesteyn (c. 1572 – 1657), to whom our portrait was attributed in the past, his oeuvre has a distinctive character which is most evident in his group portraits: an important example being the pivotal The Regents and Steward of The Holy Ghost Hospital in Rotterdam, whose composition is quite unique in the entire production of such works in 17th century Holland. There are also strong similarities with Cool’s more immediate contemporaries, Jacob Gerritz. Cuyp of Dordrecht (1594 – ?1652), and Willem Willemsz. van Vliet of Delft (1583/4 – 1642), painters who likewise evolved their own distinctive styles.
Cool may well have been studying in Delft with the leading portraitist of the day, Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, when he married in 1613 Agniesje Jaspersdr. , and in the following year he was admitted to that city’s Guild of St. Luke. He probably returned very soon after that to Rotterdam, where he was to spend the rest of his life. After the death of his wife in 1622, he was married in the following year to Lijsbeth Cornelisdr., the widow of Lowijs Porcellis. Archive records suggest that the artist was a very wealthy man; following the death of his second wife in 1652, after nearly thirty years of marriage, he bought himself a place in the Rotterdam almshouse, and pledged to paint a group portrait of the governors, which was, as mentioned above, to become the key portrait in establishing his oeuvre: The Regents and Steward of The Holy Ghost Hospital in Rotterdam. He died eight years later in 1660.
 Dr. Rudi Ekkart is the leading art historian for 17th century Dutch portraiture and the Director of the RKD in The Hague, the research institute for Dutch art. For his full article on Jan Daemen Cool, see R. Ekkart cited above, pp. 201-40
 Ekkart, op cit, cf. cat. no. 1 and cat. no. 29 respectively.
 Now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille (inv. no. 211)
 Now at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (NG 2259 and NG 824 respectively); according to Ekkart, the portrait is probably of Cornelis Arckenbout and his family (Ekkart, op cit, cat. no. 6)
 Now in the Historisch Museum, Rotterdam (inv. no. 11.105)
 Now at the Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels (inv. no. 4038)
 R. Ekkart, ‘Rotterdamse portrettist Jan Daemon Cool (ca. 1589-1660), op cit, p. 220.