Behind the scenes
Gerrit Dou's The Physician is one of the most treasured works in the Gallery collection. An assault upon the good doctor's reputation was not expected.
However, some impressive research into this painting by former gallery colleague Jeremy Marshall brought detailed information to our attention about a small number of other versions of this painting held by major European collections. These other versions included a small engraving interestingly titled Der Charlatan.
The engraving was made by Austrian engraver Sebastian Langer (1772-1841). Published in the 1820s, it was part of a portfolio of etchings made for the Belvedere Gallery, Vienna, after one of the other three versions of the painting by Dou (now in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).
Thanks to Jeremy's research, an internet hunt for a copy of the Langer engraving located one available for sale with a German bookseller, and at an affordable price. Very helpfully it opens up new conversations about the Christchurch Art Gallery collection Dou and future possibilities for research and display.