Abraham Meertens
Middelburg 1757-1823 Middelburg
A Fallow Deer Calf

PROVENANCE: Donald M. Bonnist, Mamaroneck, New York.

With S. Nystad, The Hague, 1973.


Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum, Kleur en Raffinement, Tekeningen uit de Unicorno Collectie Museum, 22 October 1994-15 January 1995, addenda no. 19.

Stamped on verso MADE IN HOLLAND

Watercolour, watermark Strasbourg lily

440 x 275 mm. (17 x 10 in.)


In 1972 the late Laurens Bol, then director of the Dordrechts museum and specialist on Aart Schouman, was invited to examine a group of about 100 watercolours of birds and animals which were believed to be by Schouman. The Hague dealer and collector Saam Nystad was asked to go in his place. Nystad established that they were not by Schouman but by his follower, Abraham Meertens. Nystad acquired the bulk of this group. It was at the insistence of the United States customs authorities that the MADE IN HOLLAND stamp was applied to the back of all the drawings1. Meertens entered the Academy in Middelburg in 1770 and was one its founders and later one of its directors.

Our drawing of a Fallow Deer Calf comes from this album of drawings, since it is stamped on the verso. The subject of our drawing was 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.

1. Amsterdam, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, and Dordrechts Museum 1994-5, Kleur & Raffinement. Tekeningen uit de Unicorno collectie, exhib. cat., p.26 and pp.118-9, cat.54. Another drawing from this group is now in a private collection, see Crispian Riley-Smith, Master Drawings, 7 July-12 July 2002, number 12 of A Black Cock and a Grey Hen.