Animals in a Rocky Landscape, by Roelandt Savery (1576-1639).

Oil on panel, 22.5cm by 35cm. Signed on the centre rock: R. SAVERY FE 1618.

The painting appears in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule or Deed of Gift, an inventory listing an immense bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689) to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703), which records: ‘A Landskipp with Staggs in it in a Black fframe by R. Savery.’

The artist was born in Courtrai where he was a pupil of his older brother Jacob (c1565-1603) and Hans Bol (1534-1593). From 1604, he spent two years as court painter to the Emperors Rudolf II and Mathias in Prague, before travelling to the Tyrol to study plants.

In the 1620s he was one of the most successful artists in Utrecht, painting mainly landscapes in the Flemish tradition, but in his own very distinctive manner, usually with the addition of beautifully observed plants and animals.

He was also known for his flower paintings and several depictions of the now extinct dodo. He was declared bankrupt the year before his death in Utrecht in 1639.


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