© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Ferdinand Bol was one of the few Rembrandt pupils to produce a substantial oeuvre of prints. Woman in a Window with a Pear served as the model for a signed and dated etching of 1651, in which the image appears in reverse. The contours of the design have been incised and the back of the sheet blackened to facilitate the transfer of the composition to the copper plate. The woman wears an invented, historicizing costume with a provocative décolleté, and the pear probably refers to proverbial and emblem literature of the period, where the fruit is invoked metaphorically to characterize a maiden’s conduct in courtship.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Ferdinand Bol, Dutch (Dordrecht 1616 - 1680 Amsterdam)
Woman in Window with a Pear
Work Type
c. 1651
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink and gray wash over black chalk, incised, on cream antique laid paper, partial framing line in black chalk; verso: blackened with black chalk
14.4 x 11.7 cm (5 11/16 x 4 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, black ink, stamp: L. 549 (Sir Charles Greville)
  • watermark:
    Fragment of a foolscap with five-pointed collar; variant of Ash, Fletcher, and Filedt Kok 1998, p. 99, F.c., and Hinterding 2006, vol. 2, pp. 122– 23, F.c.a. and F.c.b. (c. 1653)
Sir Charles Greville, (L. 549, verso, lower left) by descent; to his nephew, George Guy Greville, Fourth Earl of Warwick, Warwick Castle (without the family mark, L. 2600), by descent; to Charles Guy Fulke Greville, Seventh Earl of Warwick, sold; [Sotheby's, London, 17 March 1936, part of lot 128];* to [Edward Speelman, London]. [Schaeffer Galleries, New York], sold; to Leroy M. Backus, Seattle; [Schaeffer Galleries, New York], sold; to [Robert M. Light & Co., Boston], sold; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1956; Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund, 1956.228.

*In the 1936 Sotheby’s sale from the Earl of Warwick's collection, the Fogg drawing and another small study by Bol executed primarily in gray wash, Bust of a Bearded Old Man in a Velvet Beret (Sumowski Drawings, 1, no. 143x), were sold as a single lot in one frame. In his entry on the Fogg study (Drawings 1, no. 105), Sumowski describes the drawing formerly in the Earl of Warwick collection as a separate work--“A pen and wash drawing of the same representation (127 x 101 mm), perhaps the conceptional (sic) sketch for the present drawing”--but they are one in the same. The dimensions he gives for the putative sketch are those of Bust of a Bearded Old Man in a Velvet Beret, which is smaller than the Fogg sheet, and this is perhaps why he assumed that the Warwick Woman in a Window with a Pear was another version of the composition.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Burton B. Fredericksen and Richard Joseph Kubiak, Etchings of Rembrandt and his Followers: A Selection from the Robert Engel Family Collection, exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu CA, 1977), under cat. no. 69, p. 44

Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, ed. Walter Strauss, Abaris Books (New York, NY, 1979), vol. 1, cat. no. 105, p. 234, and under cat. no. 106, p. 236, under cat. no. 108, p. 240, under cat. no. 142x, p. 208, under cat. no. 149x, p. 322, and under cat. no. 150x, p. 324

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, checklist (unpublished, 1980), no. 38

Clifford S. Ackley, Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1981), under cat. no. 139, p. 206

B.P.J. Broos, "Boekbespreking: Werner Sumowski, 'Drawings of the Rembrandt School, 1'", Oud Holland (1984), vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 162-86, p. 181

Ingrid Oud, "De tekening van Ferdinand Bol. De relatie tussen de stijl en de functie van de tekeningen.", Kunstlicht (Amsterdam, 13 January 1992), vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 3-10, pp. 3, 5, and 9, repr. p. 4, fig. 1

Leonore van Sloten, Ferdinand Bol: etsen in eigen huis, exh. cat., Museum van Loon (Amsterdam, 2000), p. 42, repr., fig. 24b

Irina Sokolova and Emmanuel Starcky, Rembrandt et son école: Collections du musée de l'Ermitage de Saint-Pétersbourg, exh. cat., Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, 2003), under cat. no. 61, p. 205

Ivan Gaskell, Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2006), checklist

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 22; cat. no. 9, pp. 52-54, repr. p. 53; watermark p. 374

Exhibition History

Unidentified Exhibition, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1941, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 11/30/1941

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1980 - 01/04/1981

Rembrandt and His School: Drawings from the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen Rotterdam, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 12/02/1989 - 01/28/1990

Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 09/09/2006 - 12/10/2006

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu