Documenting North Netherlandish 17th Century Panel Makers’ House Marks

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


In 1617 the need for quality control of Antwerp oak panels used by painters became structured via detailed regulations requiring panel makers to issue each of their panels with the maker’s personal house mark. Upon approval by the dean of the panel makers, each accepted panel would then be branded with the Coat of Arms of Antwerp with a hot iron. This poster for the first time presents arguments and documentation on a comparable practice for panels produced in the Northern Netherlands during the 17th century. One panel maker’s mark in particular has been traced a sufficient number of times to suggest that this practice was established in Dordrecht. It shall further be argued that this may indicate that these incidents could reflect the practice of a few Flemish immigrants who took their native Antwerp tradition with them to the North. This poster is a first attempt to present the different North Netherlandish house marks/brands, their design, size, and other characteristics, in chronological order as found on 17th-century Netherlandish panels. This information is presented in conjunction with frequently recorded saw-marks on the back of the panels and the active years of the painters who used the recorded panels. Being able to identify the original mark of a painter’s support is an important documentary source which provides new evidence on the art production of the 17th century in a broader, more informative framework. The findings will be of assistance to (art) historians in placing specific paintings in time and context and it is argued that an openaccess database would be of immense importance to a variety of stakeholders interested in the art market and trade of the 17th century. The first negotiation on this issue is underway with the Dutch Institute for Art History (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie – RKD), in The Hague. The work presented is part of the research carried out under the recently established multidisciplinary and international research group STIPS (Studies in Picture Sizes).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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