Still life with an oyster, apricots and a glass of wine on a table top; Still life with prawns, a bunch of grapes and a glass of wine on a table top
Oil on panel: 10.6(h) x 8(w) in /
27(h) x 20.3(w) cm
The former signed centre left with the artist’s ring device; the latter signed centre right with the artist’s ring device
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PIETER DE RING
Circa 1615 – Leiden – 1660
Still life with an oyster, apricots and a glass of wine on a table top
Still life with prawns, a bunch of grapes and a glass of wine on a table top
The former signed centre left with the artist’s ring device;
The latter signed centre right with the artist’s ring device
Oil on panel: 10 ⅝ x 8 in / 27 x 20.3 cm
Frame size: 15 ¾ x 13 in / 40 x 33 cm In polished black seventeenth century Dutch-style frames
Painted in the mid-1650s
Charles Scarisbrick (Still life with prawns, a bunch of grapes); his sale, Christie’s London, 10th May 1861; Henry Harvey, 1868 (Still life with prawns, a bunch of grapes) EA Leatham, Esq., Misarden Park, Stroud, 1868 (Still life with an oyster, apricots);
by 1895 Leatham owned the pair; his deceased sale, Christie’s London, 2nd June 1902 (withdrawn);
by descent to a private collector, UK;
Sotheby’s London, 19th July 1974, lot 6; Richard Green, London, 1974; private collection, Europe Exhibited:
Leeds, National Exhibition of Works of Art, 1868, no.645 (Still life with an oyster, apricots) and no.666 (Still life with prawns and a bunch of grapes) (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem) London, Guildhall, Loan Collection of Pictures, 1895, no.99 (Still life with an oyster, apricots) and no.103 (Still life with prawns and a bunch of grapes) (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem)
Pieter de Ring spent most of his career in Leiden, where he was born. Houbraken recounts a tradition that he started life as a stonemason and that an employer paid for lessons with the famed still life painter Jan Davidsz. de Heem, who was then living in Antwerp. De Ring was influenced by de Heem in his mastery of textures and sense of luxury, but he was also highly individual and accomplished in his own right. He often worked in a palette of strong greens and salmon pink, achieved in this pair of paintings by the green satin tablecloths, leaves and grapes, contrasted with the warm colours of the apricots and prawns. The translucency of the prawns, oyster and grapes seen here are favourite motifs: they seem to be lit from within. Characteristic, too, is the complexity of the reflections of the wine within the glasses.
De Ring preferred an upright format for many of his compositions, which allow a concentration of attention. As a result of his meticulous style and comparatively early death in 1660, there are only a few dozen of his works known. He signed his paintings, wittily, with the device of a ring, seen here in both of these still lifes.
PIETER DE RING
Circa 1615 – Leiden – 1660
Pieter de Ring was born in Leiden, or possibly at Ypres, where his parents came from and where his elder brother was born. Reputedly, he started his career as a mason. Houbraken reported from hearsay that an employer paid for the lessons that de Ring took from Jan Davidsz. de Heem[i]. If this is true, de Ring would have had to go to Antwerp for his training, where de Heem had settled by 1636, but he has not been traced in any record there. Whatever the case, de Ring was clearly influenced by de Heem’s still lifes from the late 1640s and early 1650s. Pieter de Ring was one of the founding members of the Leiden painters’ guild in 1648 and worked there until his death. His burial in the Pieterskerk was recorded in September 1660. His earliest known dated work (indistinct, 1645 or 1647) combines a Haarlem (Heda) idiom with Leiden (Dou) lighting[ii]. Some younger Leiden still-life painters, notably Harmen Loeding, Johannes Hannot and Nicolaes van Gelder, were clearly influenced by de Ring and were perhaps his pupils. In the past, the works of these artists have often been confused.
Pieter de Ring signed many of his works in the ordinary way (in full or with a monogram) and signed his last known work in 1660 with the Latinised form of his name, P. Ab Annulo. In addition, he repeatedly used a gold ring by way of signature, occasionally in combination with a written signature. This ring, usually tucked onto the flank of the still life, is a simple model, inset with a small stone.
The work of Pieter de Ring is represented in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig; the Wallace Collection, London; Harvard University Art Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art.
[i] A Houbraken, De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen […], 3 vols., The Hague, 1753.
[ii] Christie’s Amsterdam, 18th May 1988, lot 163, illus. in colour.