Unravelling a North Netherlandish 17th-century panel maker

Jørgen Wadum, Marta Domínguez-Delmás, Angela Jager

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review


The marking and branding of oak panel painting supports is a well-known practice in art-production centers of the Southern Netherlands, such as Antwerp in the 16th and 17th centuries. Conversely, information about the activities and regulations of 17th-century panel makers in the Northern Netherlands is scant and has hitherto never been thoroughly researched. Here, we present our research on a panel maker who sold his products to painters within the Dutch Republic. He stamped his house mark, consisting of two letters ‘M’ above each other and crowned by the cipher ‘4’, into the back of his panels. This mark has been found on panels from several painters active between 1632 and 1648. To narrow down the location of the unknown panel maker’s workshop, the source of the wood and the eventual interrelationships between the boards he used for the panels were investigated. In addition, the painters who painted on his supports were studied. This paper presents a novel dendrochronological examination of eight of his twenty-three known panels, combined with art historical research into the works of his customers. We propose that Rotterdam could have been the location of the panel maker’s workshop, based on the Baltic provenance of the wood of the panels, the painters who used them, and the supply of timber to the Dutch Republic in the first half of the 17th century. Our understanding of the panel maker’s practices in the 17th century is increased by this interdisciplinary attempt to unravel an unknown Dutch panel maker and his practice. To comprehend the complexity of the booming art market of the 17th-century Netherlands, further research into Dutch frame- and panel-makers and their regulations and practices is urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Wood Culture
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2022
EventFrom Forrest to Heritage: A conference on historical timbers and wooden cultural heritage - Doopsgezinde Singelkerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 19 Apr 202221 Apr 2022


ConferenceFrom Forrest to Heritage
LocationDoopsgezinde Singelkerk
Internet address

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