VAN DEN TEMPEL
(Leeuwarden 1622/3 - 1672 Amsterdam)
Portrait of Jacquemijna Le Pla
oil on canvas
45 1/4 x 36 1/4 inches (114.9 x 92.3 cm.)
Ralph Bernal, Esq., England; His deceased sale, London, Christie's, March 5 - April 30 1855, lot 778; E. Gutzwiller, Esq. By whom sold, London, Christie's, December 22 - 23 1937, lot 18, for 27-6 guineas to Deane.
Austin, University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, on loan from 1986 - 2000;
Tyler, Texas, The Tyler Museum of Art, on loan from 2000 to the present;
Tyler, Texas, The Tyler Museum of Art, Celebration of Netherlandish Painting, November 17, 2001.
One of the leading Dutch portraitists of the third quarter of the 17th century, Abraham van den Tempel was renowned for his depiction of the sumptuous materials and objects worn by the elegant and privileged sitters he painted. The present picture exemplifies this talent. Here, the Jacquemijna Le Pla poses with a smooth-haired brown and white spaniel before an extensive garden, a statue behind her to the right and a classical balustrade in the distance. Her garments are luxurious: her blue silk gown with white trim, her flowing yellow scarf and her drop-pearl earring, all shine in the silvery evening light. Another similar but slightly larger Portrait of a Lady with a Lapdog, sold, Munich, Neumeister, November 26, 1980, lot 1440. The sitter in that portrait has dark hair, wears a white satin gown, a green cloak, and holds a dark-haired spaniel.
The identity of the sitter in this painting has only recently come to light with the discovery of copies by Eglon Henrick van der Neer (1634 – 1703) of the present picture and its (now lost) male pendant. Those small-scale copies, which are on panel with arched tops, have always been identified as Jaquemijna Le Pla (1647 – 1696?), and her first husband, Justus Ghys (1638(?) – 1680), the Leiden merchant and a distant cousin of van den Tempel (see figs. 1 and 2). Based on van der Neer's panel, we know the lost portrait of Ghys by van den Tempel to be equally elegant as the present composition, depicting the subject in a lace shirt and satin cloak, in an impressive classical interior, leaning on his left arm, his right hand on his hip.
The couple registered their betrothal in Leiden on October 7, 1666, which suggests a date for this picture of the same year, when van den Tempel would have been at the peak of his career. In 1677, Ghys purchased a house, the Hof van Zessen (Court of Sixes) at number 28B Rapenburg, Leiden, for 16,750 florins. The couple lived there until Ghys' death in 1680, when the house passed to Jacquemijna. She married two more times, first to Andries de Visscher (to whom she was registered as engaged on March 9, 1683), and after his death to the preacher, David Knibbe, to whom she was registered as engaged on July 30, 1693).
 Martina Friedrich, formerly of the Wesserenaissance-Museum, Schloss Brake, Lemgo, Germany, first relayed the identification of these sitters in a letter to Dr. Naumann, dated April 12, 1998. Dr. Eddy Shavemaker has since identified these copies as autograph works by Eglon Hendrick van der Neer. He plans to publish them, as well as the present picture, in his forthcoming upcoming monograph on the artist.
 Dr. Eddy Shavemaker, op. cit.