On Van Bijlert, see Paul Huys Janssen, Jan Van Bijlert:1597/98–1671 (Amsterdam, 1998), nos. 22 and 147, with illustrations. On Van Honthorst, see J. Richard Judson and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart, Gerrit van Honthorst, 1592–1656 (Doornspijk, 1999), nos. 282, 283, and 284. Judson and Ekkart prefer to call the subject a “Merry Company.” Just how closely the subjects of a Merry Company and the Prodigal Son were related emerges from Paul Huys Janssen, Jan Van Bijlert: 1597/98–1671 (Amsterdam, 1998), no. 22, in which the scene of the expulsion of the Prodigal Son from the brothel appears in the background, to make the subject of the painting abundantly clear.
“Der verlohrne Sohn welcher in dem Bordello mit Trincken und Caressiren sich verführen läst.” Karsch, 1719, unpaginated, Das zweyte Zimmer N. 148. See J. Richard Judson and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart, Gerrit van Honthorst, 1592–1656 (Doornspijk, 1999), no. 282, for their interpretation of the picture. With regard to this discussion, see also Albert Blankert and Leonard J. Slatkes, eds., Holländische Malerei in neuem Licht: Hendrick ter Brugghen und seine Zeitgenossen (Exh. cat. Utrecht, Centraal Museum; Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum) (Utrecht, 1986), no. 63.
J. Richard Judson and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart, Gerrit van Honthorst, 1592–1656 (Doornspijk, 1999), no. 292. For a discussion of the interpretation of the picture as the Prodigal Son in the brothel, see Liesbeth Helmus, Schilderkunst tot 1850, in Verzamelingen van het Centraal Museum Utrecht, no. 5 (Utrecht,1999), 169–72, 975–77, no. 293.
Thierry Beherman, Godfried Schalcken (Paris, 1988), nos. 174 and 177, where both paintings are dated to 1685–90. On the painting in Salzburg, see also Peter Hecht, De Hollandse Fijnschilders, van Gerard Dou tot Adriaen van der Werff (Exh. cat. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum) (Maarssen and The Hague, 1989), 208–11, no. 44. In fact, Schalcken’s earlier work also displays the motif of the old woman, who appears in the same place in the composition in such paintings as Virginity Threatened in Salzburg and The Useless Lesson in Antwerp.
Elon Danziger, “The Cook Collection, Its Founder and Its Inheritors,” The Burlington Magazine 146, no. 1216 (July 2004): 448.
Elon Danziger and John Somerville, “The Cook Collection Archive” (2004) http://www.burlington.org.uk, no. 355, according to whom Lovers entered the Cook Collection by 1914; they apparently overlooked W. Cook, Catalogue of the Art Collection: 8, Cadogan Square, SW, (London, 1904); see Provenance.
The painting was seen by Abraham Bredius in 1888 in Richmond and descirbed in his notebook (now in the Museum Bredius) on folio 201 as: Schalcken, groote dame bij kaarslicht, rechts 2e dame, de andere met blauw bandje.
The story, titled “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken [sic] the Painter,” first appeared as part of “The Purcell Papers” in May 1839 in the Dublin University Magazine. It was reprinted in 1851, but did not become widely known until The Purcell Papers were reprinted in three volumes in London in 1880. See Gary William Crawford, J. Sheridan La Fenu: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, 1995), passim.
Thierry Beherman, Godfried Schalcken (Paris, 1988), no. 57, where it is dated to between 1692 and 1699. See also Elon Danziger and John Somerville, “The Cook Collection Archive” (2004), no. 354, who state that Cook most likely acquired the Self-Portrait from Robinson in 1882. This painting was purchased from the Cook Collection in 1953 by the museum in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire.
Sonia Roe and Pat Hardy, Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in the City of London (London, 2009), 170, where the painting is dated 1695. See also the BBC website, where all the paintings (more than 125,000) published in the large series of Oil Paintings in [British] Public Ownership can be viewed. Schalcken’s Self-Portrait is no. 54466 and has a good color image that can be enlarged. Christopher Wright, Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collections (London, 1989), no. 37, does not mention a date.
Or that the painting was previously stretched onto a smaller stretcher. There is no X-radiograph of the painting.
Undertaken in 2004 by Catherine Hassall Paint Analysis, 5 Patshull Road, London NW5 2JX.