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It is known that Thomas Worlidge must have done numerous etchings in the style of Rembrandt. Furthermore, he made copies of Rembrandt's etchings and of paintings which were attributed to Rembrandt. There exists, for example, an etching after the self-portrait (Philips Collection; Bredius 13), a painting, which, in the author's opinion, is a later imitation of a Rembrandt (note 7). One is almost tempted to attribute the painting itself to Worlidge. It appears from the art treasures auctioned after Worlidge's death that he must also have done paintings in Rembrand's style. These are now mislaid or hidden in the mass of doubtful attributions to Rembrandt. To these belongs a so-called self-portrait of Rembrandt in the collection of P. W. Sutton (Fig. 2), which came to light in London round about i960, although it was already known some years earlier (notes 3 and 4). The comparison with etched Rembrandtesque male heads (Figs. 3 and 4) makes probable the attribution of this to Worlidge, the painter. The painting is a copy of the self-portrait on the Rembrandt etching of 1634 (Fig. 1). Experience has taught us that the imitators copied and varied the etchings (which they had more easily to hand) rather than the paintings themselves. This is certainly the case with an artist who was himself an engraver and who did his own etchings from 15 of Rembrand's. In the author's view, Worlidge was also responsible for the paintings in the Wallace Collection in London (Br. 193) and in the Willem van der Vorm Collection in Rotterdam which were earlier attributed to Rembrandt (Fig. 7, note 13). The latter is a variation on the portrait of Rembrand's father in Liverpool (Bredius 182). With somewhat less certainty a portrait which was previously on the London market (Fig. 8) can also be attributed to Worlidge. The work referred to here as of Worlidge, the painter, is rather small and unimportant. Perhaps this article can act as a challenge to unearth other pictures done by Worlidge in a Remhrandtesque manner. So far the only known and well-documented painting in Dutch 17th century style is the portrait of a woman, which took N. Maes as the starting-point rather than Rembrandt himself (note 11, Fig. 6).
Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek (NKJ) / Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art © 1970 Brill