SIMON DUBOIS (FLEMISH, 1632-1706)
PORTRAIT OF AERNOUTT VAN CITTERS
Signed, bears inscription and coats of arms on reverse, oil on canvas
37cm x 31cm (14.5in x 12in) Estimate £ 4,000-6,000 + fees Provenance:
Contents of a Belgravia Apartment Inscription:
'd'hr: Aernout van Citters. Collonel van een regement infanterij Comandeur van Sas van gent geb tot middelb 25 maart 1661. gest Jul 1718. 5' Note:
Simon Dubois was born in Antwerp in 1632, and from 1646 to 1653 lived in Haarlem where he was a pupil of both van Berchem and Wouwermans, learning his trade painting bucolic pastoral landscapes. In 1653, aged 21, he moved to Rotterdam and began a career as a painter of small battle-scenes in the Italian fashion. By 1657 we know that he was painting in Venice but four years later in 1661 he is known to have been back in Rotterdam and in 1667 in Rome, painted a celebrated portrait of Pope Alexander VII in the year of his death.
Thereafter Dubois pursued a successful career making copies of Old Masters and in 1680 moved to England, where he found patronage from supporters of the Prince of Orange including Sir William Jones (Dulwich Picture Gallery). His breakthrough came with the full length portrait of William III's Lord Chancellor, John Somers, one of the key figures in the Glorious Revolution, now at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.
Dubois lived in London's Covent Garden with his brother Edward, who was also a painter. Simon's portrait painting continued to find favour with the great and the good of King William's court, sitters including the 1st Marquis of Normandy and Sir Thomas Vernon of Hanbury Hall.
The present sitter Aernoutt van Citters (1661-1718), was Colonel of a regiment of infantry and Commander of the town of Sas van Ghent. His father, also Aernoutt van Citters (1633-1696) had been Ambassador to the English court from 1680 to 1694, and the family had lived in Zeeland since 1585. An unsigned version of this portrait, numbered 5 and of similar dimensions, acquired in 1876, hangs in the Rijksmuseum. Similarly, on the reverse, it bears the family coat of arms and those of eight ancestors.
Dubois is known to have painted other members of the van Citters family. His portrait of Ermerantia van Citters (1666-1694) painted in 1693 is also in the Rijksmuseum, numbered 7 as are those of her sisters Anna (1664-1694) numbered 6, Josina Clara (1671- 1753), numbered 8 and Johanna (1672-1740) numbered 9. Dubois also painted a well-known and engraved van Citters' father's fellow Williamite diplomat William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland.
Consequently Dubois became a wealthy man and in 1707, by which time he was in his seventies, he married Sarah, the daughter of the painter William van de Velde the Younger, only to die just a year later in 1708.