Rembrandt’s Portrait of Jan Cornelis Sylvius to be displayed at Duff House, in Banff

Work of the Dutch master which was rediscovered two years ago to go on display in Scotland’s north east

EDINBURGH, 2016-Jul-18 — /Travel PR News/ — A unique Rembrandt etching showing an Amsterdam preacher from 1633 – which was rediscovered in Edinburgh two years ago and was established to be the work of the Dutch master himself – is to be displayed at Duff House, in Banff.

Rembrandt’s Portrait of Jan Cornelis Sylvius will go on public view at the Georgian mansion tomorrow, Friday 15th July, for 17 weeks.

The rare red ink print was previously thought to be a copy of a print by Rembrandt (1606-1669). However, specialist research carried out following its rediscovery in the Scottish National Gallery’s Print Room, in 2014, led to the conclusion that it is in fact not the work of a copyist, but of the Dutch painter and etcher himself.

Renowned as one of the most skilled printmakers in the history of art, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn produced at least 314 etching plates throughout his career, dating from around 1626 to 1665. Only 22 impressions from these etchings are known to be in red ink – which were all printed in the 18th century, following Rembrandt’s death – with only five being portraits. This particular work is one of these five rare examples.

Graeme Curran, Manager of Duff House, which is operated by Historic Environment Scotland, said: “This display will showcase a truly unique red ink etching – the only one of this subject that is known to exist – from one of the greatest painters and printmakers of the 17th century and in the history of art.

It’s wonderful that two years on from its rediscovery, people will now have the opportunity to view this rare Rembrandt etching at Duff House. As well as having the chance to find out more about how this particular work was rediscovered, visitors will also be able to take a closer look at this unique artwork while learning more about the artist’s skill and capability as a printmaker.”

Rembrandt made his Portrait of Jan Cornelis Sylvius shortly after moving to Amsterdam from his native Leiden. The preacher and subject of this work was a relative of Saskia van Uylenburgh, who Rembrandt married in 1633. Sylvius became the godfather to their first child and baptised their daughter Cornelia in 1638, the same year he died.

This display is being held in partnership with The National Galleries of Scotland. The Print Room of the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh holds more than 100 impressions of Rembrandt etchings.

Commenting on the Rembrandt etching being displayed at Duff House, Dr Tico Seifert, Senior Curator for Northern European Art at The National Galleries of Scotland, who also rediscovered the etching, added: “This particular Rembrandt print has a fascinating story that came to light in 2014. It had been previously catalogued as a copy, however, I found that all known copies of this print are in reverse and upon further comparisons and speaking with colleagues in Amsterdam it soon became clear that this was an etching by Rembrandt himself and, moreover, that it is the only impression of this plate in red ink.

“Duff House makes for a wonderful setting for people in the north east of Scotland to take the opportunity to view this small, but significant art work.”

Rembrandt’s Portrait of Jan Cornelis Sylvius is on show in Duff House’s marble lobby from tomorrow, Friday 15th July, until Sunday 30th October, entrance to view this unique work is included in the cost of admission to the House and is free for members.

About Duff House:

Duff House is a masterpiece of baroque architecture and one of the most important buildings in the north of Scotland.  It was designed in 1735 by the renowned Scottish architect William Adam and is now a five-star visitor attraction, run in partnership by Historic Environment Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council.  The National Galleries provides most of the artworks on permanent display in the House, including important paintings by El Greco, Gainsborough and Raeburn, and contributes to the regular programme of exhibitions and displays.

Notes for editors

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
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Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.  It will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.


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Copyright: Scottish National Gallery

Copyright: Scottish National Gallery