Full-length portrait of a little boy holding two tulips and a rinkelbel in an interior with his kolf club and ball, 1647
Private Collection, Cologne, until 1987.
Private Collection, UK, acquired in 1988.
R. Ekkart, Portret van Enkhuizen in de gouden eeuw, Zwolle, 1990, p. 32, no. 44 (illus.)
R. Ekkart, ‘G.Ban’, in Bulletin Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1991, p.429 (illus.)
This sensitive portrait depicts a young boy holding a pair of tulips and a rinkelbel with a teething tool attached to a chain around his waist. On the ground before him lie a kolf club, called a kliek, and a ball made of rubber or pieces of leather stitched together. Kolf – a precursor to modern day golf, was a popular game in the Netherlands from as early as the 13th Century and often appears in 16th and 17th Century genre scenes . During the winter, the game was often played on ice. An arrangement such as this, with a formally-dressed child holding a kolf club, became a popular format in children’s portraiture.
Gerbrand Ban hailed from Haarlem and is believed to have been the pupil of Pieter Fransz. De Grebber. By 1640 Ban was working as a painter and art dealer in Amsterdam, where he painted this portrait of an unknown young boy. The following year, in 1648, he moved to live nearer relations in Enkhuizen. He also joined a community of artists active there, including the portraitist Herman Meindertsz. Doncker, and Ban was able to establish himself as a specialist portrait painter. There are few works securely attributed to him, most of which depict single sitters.