Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts Ltd

A Menagerie of Birds and Animals: including a Pair of Golden Pheasants and Lady Amhurst Pheasants, Parrots and Guinea Fowl

Abraham Meertens (Middelburg 1757-1823 Middelburg)

Pencil, watercolour, pen and brown ink framing lines
304 x 170 mm. (12 x 6 in.)

Provenance :
With Heijdenrijk Jr. Bv, Amsterdam.
Gebr. Dowes, Amsterdam.
Private collection, England.

Abraham Meertens
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Our drawings are typical of Abraham Meertens style and compare well to many of the artists works1. The subjects of our drawing were probably chosen from one of the fashionable menageries, such as the richly maintained royal collection of the Stadholder Prince Willem V at the Kleine Loo, in The Hague, and at the Oude Loo near Apeldoorn. There are two pictures by Aert Schouman which illustrate the Exotic four-footed animals in the Menagerie of Prince WillemV at the Kleine Loo, with the Royal Plaace Huis ten Bosch in the background in the collection of the Institut Nerlandais, Paris and The Menagerie of Prince Willem V one of five wall panels in the Royal Collections, The Hague2. This gives some idea how extended was the exotic animal collection in this royal palace.
The present pair of watercolours are closely comparable to the work of Aert Schouman, who was such a large influence on Meertens. The physical format of these watercolours give the impression that they were designs for an interior. Indeed it is possible that these watercolours by Meertens were for wall-hangings, and follow in the style of another artist from Middelburg, Abraham Busschop.3
Meertens entered the Academy in Middelburg in 1770 and was one its founders and later one of its directors.
1.Sothebys, The Unicorno Collection, Fifty Years of collecting European drawings, Amsterdam 19 May 2004, lot numbers 229-234.
2.Laurens J. Bol, Aart Schouman, Doornspijk, 1991, pp 127.
3.Laurens J. Bol, op.cit., pp 120-8.