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Willem Outgersz. Akersloot

(circa 1600 Haarlem – after 1651 The Hague)

Portrait of Frederik Hendrik, Prince of Orange. Engraving. 21 x 16.7 cm. Hollstein 3 I (of IV).

The Haarlem-born engraver, Willem Akersloot, is thought to have been taught by Jan van de Velde. His earliest known engraving dates to the year 1624. Akersloot was active until 1633 in Haarlem, where he made reproductive engravings after originals by artists such as Hendrick Hondius, Pieter Molijn, Pieter Saenredam and Jan van de Velde. He subsequently lived and worked in The Hague.

The present portrait of Prince Frederik Hendrik taken in 1628 is executed in a consummate, detailed engraving technique. A design made by Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, an artist who lived in The Hague from 1625, served as a model. The prince is wearing ceremonial armour and presented in full figure. His helmet adorned with rich feather trimming stands on a low pedestal to his right. In his right hand the prince holds a sword and in his left a clutch of arrows, attached to which are the coats of arms of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands. His pose radiates self-assuredness and vigilance. Visible in the background and rendered in a meticulously precise tech­nique reminiscent of Jan van de Velde are the lively goings-on at the Binnenhof in The Hague, the seat of the Dutch parliament.

The present engraving is of the rare first state, before all letters. The work must have been extremely popular since it was issued by three different publishers. In the fifth and final state the portrait of Frederik Hendrik was replaced by that of King William III of Orange (1650–1702). A superb, crisp and con­tras­ting impression with even margins. In mint condition.

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