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Paulus Lesire (Holland 1611-after 1656)

Pieter Cornelisz. van Coevenhoven and The Hague militia company

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale: Classic & Asian 15-18 June 2021

Lot 618. Paulus Lesire (Holland 1611-after 1656). Pieter Cornelisz. van Coevenhoven (1609‑1654) and The Hague militia company wearing orange sashes and holding the orange squad on the beach of Scheveningen at the festive departure of Queen Henrietta Maria of England (1609‑1669), the 26th of February 1643. Signed and dated P. Lesire f…t / 1644. Oil on relined canvas, 97 x 140 cm.

With an annotation on the lower left stone: ”den Haegh het Hollants hoff weet opeen hooffs te leven/De vriendschap die sy kryght die weet sy weer te geven / En schoon sij self wel eer haer koninhgschap verjoiegh/ Omdat het was te te….en sich te gaanck vroiegh /S………te min een Koninghin te vlyen……../een goet gevoel en beter uyt te leyen ’t was Koevenhoven die de Schuters voren /gingh dit heught men en verget hoe ver men haer verfingh”.


100.000 – 150.000 SEK
€ 10.000 – 15.000


(Probably) commissioned by Pieter Cornelisz. van Coevenhoven (1609‑1654), The Hague.
Thence by descent to his daughter Catharina Brants Swalmius, née van Coevenhoven (1637‑1703).
Thence by descent to her daughter Catharina Scheltus, née Brants Swalmius (1666‑1751).
Thence by descent into the Nederburgh family and subsequently to Jacob de Fremery (1826‑1899), ‘s Gravensande.
Thence by descent to James Leon de Fremery (1858‑1911), San Francisco and Paul William de Fremery (1898‑1933), New York, by whom sold at O. Rundle Gilbert, New York, 16 December 1942, lot 32.
Ir. J.J. Dony, The Hague, his sale at van Marle & Bignell, 15 June 1954, lot 61.
Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 17 November 1993, lot 60.
A Private Swedish Collection.


The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, 1900, no. 261.


Catalogue Oude Schilderkunst in Utrecht, 1894, p. 133.
Alfred von Wurzbach, Niederländische Künstler-Lexikon, 1910, vol. II, p. 30.
U. Thieme, F. Becker (ed. H. Vollmer), Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler, 1926, vol. XIII, p. 123.
Montreal / Toronto, 1969, p. 2.
J.M. de Groot, Dordrechts Museum Bulletin, July 1979, vol. III. p. 2.
Werner Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, 1983, vol. III, p. 1717, cat. 1162, reproduced p. 1743.
Sabine Craft – Giepmans, Het Vertrek van een Koningin. Paulus Lesire’s Vertrek van Henrietta Maria uit Scheveningen, in: Liber Amicorum Marijke de Kinkelder, 2013, pp. 83/92.

In context

The festive departure of Queen Henrietta Maria of England from the beach in Scheveningen by Paulus Lesire

The present painting is a fascinating visual account of a contemporary historical event from the viewpoint of Pieter Cornelisz. van Coevenhoven (1609‑1654), one of the main protagonists. The painting is of art historical importance as it is as much a group portrait of a militia company, a portrait of a family and a beachscene with the rhyme on the stone lower left further adding to the prestige of the scene.

The event depicted is the festive departure of Queen Henrietta Maria of England from the beach in Scheveningen, on the 26th of February 1643. She and her daughter Mary Stuart had come to the Netherlands in March 1642, where Mary was to join her husband Prince William II whom she had married on the 13th of May 1641 in London. The Queen joined her daughter on the journey to The Hague to escape from the increasing political tensions between the fractions of the Royalists and Parliamentarians in which she herself had become an issue of dispute because of her Catholic faith and which would lead up to the Civil War.

During her stay in the Hague, the Queen undertook numerous campaigns to raise money, weapons and political support for her husband King Charles I. However, for the States General in The Hague the Queen’s presence became an increasing embarrassment and a financial burden as the short visit which was foreseen extended to a full year with her cortege of 380 persons regularly to be entertained in a courtly fashion. Thus, when the Queen finally planned to return to England on the 29th of January 1643, it was felt as relief, rather then as a regret.

The journey across on the channel did not go as planned. After having set out on the 2nd of February, a sudden heavy storm obliged the ships to return to the Dutch shore, where the Queen set foot again on the 10th. A second departure was planned for the 26th of February 1643, equally festive albeit on smaller scale as the first. This is the event depicted in the present painting.

While the first departure has been recorded in a painting by Sybrand van Beest, now in the Haags Historisch Museum, inv. no. 1862 – 004 – SCH, the present painting repeats in broader lines the composition the van Beest painting showing the militia company standing with on the right, the onlookers on the dune on the left and the Queen in her carriage on the way to her pink pushed towards the background. The difference with the earlier painting however is that in the present painting Pieter Cornelisz. van Coevenhoven (1609‑1654) whose name appears in the rhyme lower left stands center stage as captain of the militia of the Sebastiaansdoelen with his wife Maria Bosch (1614‑1657) and their daughter Catharina (1637‑1703) seated on the left.

As explained by S. Craft – Giepmans, op.cit., p. 88, Pieter van Coevenhoven is likely to have commissioned the painting as the painting’s provenance confirms that it was sold with other family portraits in 1942. This seems all the more likely, as van Coevenhoven had obviously had climbed the social ladder in the Hague at the time, having married into the powerful Bosch family in 1636. His father in law Albrecht Bosch headed the city nine times as mayor and was as his son in law captain of the city’s militia. Van Coevenhoven himself was as his father in law involved in building projects such as that of the Nieuwe Doelen on the Korte Vijverberg and obviously did not shew any means to elevate his prestige.

The rhyme in the lower left corner is inscribed with the name of C. Boey and translates as follows:

The Hague and the court of Holland is known for its courtly lifestyle
In this way it grants and receives friendships
And despite that once royalty was chased
As it came … too early
It was still capable to receive a Queen
And to give her a good stay and a festive farewell
It was Koevenhoven who here lead the militia
And this was so stylish that one easily forgets how she was once received.

As explained by S. Craft – Giepmans, p. 89, the author of this rhyme must be identified as Cornelis Boey (1611‑1665), lawyer in The Hague and amateur poet, whose wife was Anna Brandwijk van Blokland from Dordrecht. She might have introduced Paulus Lesire, who was equally from Dordrecht, to van Coevenhoven, whereby the first commission was perhaps the half length portrait of 1643 now in the Dordrechts Museum, inv. no. DM/888/306.

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