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Old Masters, Lawyer, Adriaen van Ostade, Antique Print, 1763


Adriaen van Ostade (1610-1685) (after)
Anthony Walker (1726-1765) (engraver)
J. Boydell, London: 1763
25.5 x 19 inches, sheet
15.5 x 11.5 inches, image
Physick Sold
Law $800

Male figures embodying the professions of law and medicine (physick) as practiced in 17th century Holland. Each scene is framed by a stone arch, a pictorial device that adds an air of informality and intimacy, as if they were glimpsed by a passerby from the street.

The physician is involved in preparing medicine, his reference book, a mixing vessel and some dried plant material on the table beside him, while he holds up a flask and thoughtfully inspects the liquid. More books are on the shelf to his right, showing his erudition.

The lawyer, illuminated by a shaft of light, reviews a document. Like the physician, he sits before his bookshelf and tools of the trade, in his case, papers, a quill and inkwell, and what appear to be pouches of paper hung on the wall behind him.


According to the title, the original pictures on which the prints were based were in the collection of the Right Honourable William Beckford, Esq., Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Adriaen van Ostade was one of the most prolific Dutch artists of the 17th century. Trained in the studio of Franz Hals, he became well-known for his lively genre paintings of peasants, domestic and agricultural work, and the trades. Later, influenced by the style of Rembrandt, he employed a warmer palette and deeper chiaroscuro effects, which is the style of these works. He is represented in important museum collections around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre and the Hague.

Anthony Walker was a British draftsman and engraver.

John Boydell (1719-1804) was a successful and influential printseller and engraver. Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery is credited with changing the course of English painting by creating a market for historical and literary works. He also encouraged the development of engraving in England with, among other things, his prints illustrating scenes from Shakespearean plays. In 1773, his nephew Josiah Boydell (1752-1817) became his business partner and later his successor, trading as J. & J. Boydell.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases.


“Adriaen von Ostade.” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2000.

Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Devon County Council. 2001.

Rusche, Harry. “Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery.” Emory University. 1998.