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Anthonie van Borssum, A Garden Scene with Waterfowl

Key facts
Full title A Garden Scene with Waterfowl
Artist Anthonie van Borssum
Artist dates 1630 - 1677
Date made probably about 1660-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 33.7 × 45.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by John P. Heseltine, 1918
Inventory number NG3314
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Garden Scene with Waterfowl
Anthonie van Borssum

There are really two subjects of this painting. The landscape creates a slightly mysterious air. The trees are backlit by a bright sky, and the long reflection across the pond leads our eye to the open gate beyond. It seems we are in a walled park or the formal gardens of a grand house. Then there is the activity in the foreground. A gaggle of ducks and exotic waterfowl – fashionable among wealthy landowners at the time – flock to the woman who is feeding them from the window of a garden house.

Anthonie van Borssum was born in Amsterdam and may have been a pupil of Rembrandt from about 1645 to 1650. He was a versatile and eclectic artist who principally painted landscapes and pictures of plants and animals. This picture was probably made in the early 1660s and may have been influenced by the work of Melchior d'Hondecoeter, who specialised in painting birds.

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