Jacob Cats
Altona 1741-Amsterdam 1799
A Wooded River Landscape with a Maid carrying a Jug, and Cattle and Sheep crossing a wooden Bridge

PROVENANCE: Lord Fairhaven.

Signed and dated J: Cats inv/ 1789 (verso)

Black chalk, pen and brown ink and watercolour, pen and brown ink framing lines

158 x 240 mm. (6 x 9 in.)


Jacob Cats was a painter and draughtsman, and he owes his fame largely due to his activities as a landscape artist. Indeed the art connoisseur C. Josi (1765-1828) (Lugt 573) commented on Jacob Cats watercolours: His compositions are done with a great facility. His rural scenes are rich, charming and natural.

Jacob Cats was the son of Johannes Cats, a Dutch bookdealer, who moved back to Amsterdam from Germany following the death of his second wife. Jacob trained as a bookbinder, and as an engraver, first under Abraham Starre and later with Peter Louw. Cats had further training with the pattern designer Gerard van Rossum, and he became a wall-paper painter in the Amsterdam factory of Jan Hendrick Troost van Groenendoelen. Cats established his own wallpaper factory with financial assistance from his relative Willem Writs, Jan de Bosch and Johann Goll van Franckenstein the elder.

According to Jane Turner Cats drawings are usually signed and dated and often inscribed on the verso. Both these drawings are signed and dated on the verso. Cats most probably based his drawings on initial sketches, which were often made outside, and were used as models for the finished drawings. The present pair can be compared to 4 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 28 November 1997-3 March 1998, On Country Roads and Fields. The Depiction of the 18th & 19th Century Landscape, nos 24 (a-d).