This painting was presented to the Government Collection in 1954, following Minister David Eccles’ 1952 public appeal to businesses and private individuals for funds and gifts or loans of art for Government buildings. The response to the appeal was positive and some £17,000 was raised, as well as several works of art being donated or lent. In 1954 Richard Walker, a former Curator of the Government Collection, was invited to view this work at the home of a private collector, for possible inclusion in the Collection. After the meeting he made the following notes:
‘It is a river scene, probably S. German, with a mountain and castle on the right, trees left, fishing boats & a hawking party in the foreground. Late 18 century… It is probably not likely to be thought suitable for Parliament but could well be used elsewhere.’
A painting with a markedly similar composition, signed by Jan Griffier senior but not dated, was sold through Sotheby’s, London, in 2010.
Jan Griffier senior was born in Amsterdam and trained in the studio of Roeland Roghman. He soon discovered a talent for imitating work by other painters. In about 1672, he travelled to England, initially working in the studio Jan Looten. He became a ‘free Brother’ of the Painter-Stainers’ Company in 1677. His landscape views of Italy and the vicinity of the Rhine sold well and he purchased a yacht, which became his family home on the Thames. He married at least twice and had at least five children. In 1695 he set off for Amsterdam but was shipwrecked on route and lost almost all his assets. By 1704 he had returned to London with his son, Jan Griffier junior. His work typically includes sun-drenched Italian or Dutch winter landscapes.
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