The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Toper
  • Ferdinand Bol (1616 - 1680)
  • The Toper
  • Netherlands
  • c. 1650 - c. 1651
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 89.2 x 82.3 cm
    Object size: 117 x 111 x 10 cm
  • Signature: 'Fbol', the 'Fb' in monogram
  • P74
  • East Galleries I
Further Reading
  • Ferdinand Bol joined Rembrandt’s workshop in Amsterdam in 1637, and probably remained there until setting up as an independent painter in c.1642. The Toper (a drinker or drunkard) is shown in the costume of an early sixteenth-century knight wearing a gold medallion of Saint George. In the nineteenth century the picture was thought to be by another follower of Rembrandt, Jan Victors, and to depict the imprisoned Arnold, Duke of Guelders (1423-73). The intensity of the facial characterisation has led more recent viewers to speculate that The Toper may be a self-portrait, although the picture does not resemble Bol’s known Self-Portrait (1653; private collection). The Toper is in fact a typical character-piece in the Rembrandt manner and may be compared with other half-length figures leaning from windows by Rembrandt and Bol. Bol used this type of pose for an elaborate series between 1644 and 1653, and the present picture is generally thought to date from this period, c.1650-1.