Emerentia von Berensteyn (c1623-1674)

Attributed to:
Soutman, Pieter Claesz (b.c 1580, d.1657)
previously attributed to Frans Hals (b.c 1581, d.1666)
c 1634
dated by sitter's dates.
Place of production:
Haarlem, Holland, Netherlands
oil on panel
Type of object:
Accession number:


Once thought to be by Frans Hals, this striking portrait of a young Dutch girl is most probably by Pieter Claesz Soutman. Emerentia von Berensteyn was the daughter of a wealthy citizen of Haarlem. Despite her young age, she is dressed in adult woman's clothes.

The work was attributed to Frans Hals in the 19th century when it was in the Catholic foundation, the Hofje van Berenstyn, in Haarlem. When it entered the Rothschild collection at the end of the 19th century, its authorship began to be doubted. Hals did paint portraits of the van Berenstyn family, but this portrait is more similar in style to one attributed to Pieter Claesz Soutman of the van Berenstyn family now in the Louvre (R.F.426). Soutman painted many portraits in a manner influenced by Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. He may have been related to one of the witnesses present at Emerentia's wedding to Egbertus Rentinck in 1663, Th. Johan Soutman. Both Pieter Claesz Soutman and the van Berenstyn family were also Catholics. Emerentia's brother later set up the Hofje van Berenstyn, where this painting hung until 1882.

As well as a rich red dress trimmed with gold ribbons and lace, Emerentia wears the hat and veil known as a 'huik'. This was fashionable with the Dutch middling-classes. It was worn as part of day clothing from the end of the 16th century to about 1625. The date of the painting is just after this. Emerentia may be wearing her mother's clothes, or those of another older female relation. The painting may have been made to celebrate the offer of the young Emerentia's hand in marriage at a future date.

Lengthy correspondence in the archive at Waddesdon Manor reveals how Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild's sister, Baroness Mathilde de Rothschild, engineered the purchase of this painting from the Regents of the Hofje through her secretary Jean Kirsch. These negotiations concerned the price and number of paintings to be sold. The Regents of the Hofje wanted to sell three or four paintings for 150,000 or 170,000 florins. They finally accepted Mathilde's offer of 100,000. Edmond de Rothschild, Mathilde's son-in-law, sent two cheques from Paris to Mathilde's secretary in a hotel in The Hague to cover the amount. The Dutch agents questioned their percentage - 3% or 5%; they finally accepted 5%. The painting came to Waddesdon through James de Rothschild who gave Waddesdon to the National Trust at his death. James's mother, Adelheid - who was actually Mathilde's daughter - bought it from Mathilde's grandson, Albert, the son of Adelheid's sister, Minna Caroline. Mathilde had left the painting to Albert at her death.

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1046 x 1052
Signature & date:
not signed or dated


Owned by the Hofje van Berestyn Foundation until 1882; sold by the Foundation to Baroness Mathilde de Rothschild (b.1832, d.1924) 17 March 1882; by descent to her grandson Baron Albert von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (b.1879, d.1941); acquired from Albert by Baroness Edmond de Rothschild (b.1853, d.1935) in 1933; by descent to her son James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Exhibition history:
Frankfurt am Main, 1925 no. 100, lent by Baron Albert von Goldschmidt Rothschild

'Children Painted by Dutch Artists', London, Arts Council, 1956, no. 17, lent by James A. de Rothschild as by Frans Hals
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957



Adriaan van der Willigen; Les artistes de Harlem [1870]; Nieuwkoop; B de Graaf; 1970; p. 80; as by Hals
Wilhelm Bode; Studien zur geschichte der hollandischen Malerei; Brunswick; [n. pub.]; 1883; no. 12
George Lafenestre, Le Musée de Harlem et les tableaux achetés par le Louvre (1er article), Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 31, April 1885, 340-356; p. 356; as by Hals
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot; A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Vols 1-4 [1907-1927]; Bishops Stortford; Chadwick Healey; 1976; vol. 3, no. 153
E W Moes; Frans Hals, sa vie et son œuvre; Brussels; G. Van Oest & Cie.; 1909; pp. 48, 50, no. 14
Eltjo Aldegondus van Berestyn; Genealogie van het geslacht van Beresteyn; 2 vols; The Hague; 's-Gravenhage; 1940-1954; vol. 1, pp. 78-79, ill.; In section 'Ikonographie der leden van het Geslacht van Berestyn', pp. 78-79, ill.
Arts Council of Great Britain; Children Painted by Dutch Artists 1550-1820; London; Arts Council of Great Britain; 1956; no. 17
London Illustrated News; December 1959; Cover illustration
Sir Francis Watson, The Art Collections at Waddesdon Manor I: The Paintings, Apollo, 69, June 1959, 172-182; p. 181, fig. 13
Christopher White, Dutch and Flemish Paintings at Waddesdon Manor, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 54, August 1959, 67-74; pp. 72-73, fig. 6
Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967; pp. 165-167, cat. no. 70
Mirjam Neumeister; Holländische Gemälde Im Städel 1550-1800 Band 1: Künstler Geboren Bis 1615; Frankfurt am Main; Michael Imhof Verlag; 2005; p. 489
Marlene Hiller; Damals. Dir Rothschilds: Der sensationell Auf-stieg einer europainsechen Bankiersdynastie; Stuttgart; Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt (Stuttgart); 2006; p. 40, ill.
Michael Hall, Eine stille Sammlerin, Damals: das magazin fur geschichte und kultur, August 2006, 38-41; p. 40

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