Antiquarian Print Shop Established 2000

Biography of Jacobus Houbraken

Jacobus Houbraken was a Dutch engraver, who was born in Dordrecht in the Netherlands.

He learned the art of engraving from his father, Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719), and devoted himself almost entirely to portraiture.

In 1707 he moved to Amsterdam, where for years he helped his father with his magnum opus, his father’s art historical work The Great Theatre of Dutch Painters (1718–1721).

When his father died he assisted his mother with the last proofs of the manuscript before publishing. With this project he started his portraits of Netherlandish celebrities, that are today in many cases the only likenesses left of these people. He was influenced by studying the works of Cornelis CortJonas SuyderhoefGerard Edelinck and the Visschers. He died, aged 81, in Amsterdam.

His work became famous through his collaboration with the historian Thomas Birch and artist George Vertue, on the project entitled, Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, published in parts in London from 1743 to 1752, and from which our plates come.



His oeuvre of more than 400 portrait engravings form an important record for art provenance.

His portraits were often set in an oval frame, with a subtitle with the subject's claim to fame. Under that in small letters, he placed his notes about the original oil portrait.

During the years 1752–59 he worked with the historian Jan Wagenaar (1709–1773) on his 21 part Vaderlandsche historie, working for the publisher Isaac Tirion in Amsterdam. With this project of biographies of celebrated figures, he annotated his work with notes about the original paintings.

Among his best works are scenes from the comedy of "De Ontdekte Schijndeugd", executed in his eightieth year, after Cornelis Troost, who was called by his countrymen the Dutch Hogarth.

Sourced from Wikipedia

 Related Tag: Portrait Prints