Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Hans Bol, Netherlandish (Mechelen, Belgium 1534 - 1593 Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Woodcock Hunt with Snare and Net
Work Type
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink and brown wash over touches of black chalk, incised, on off-white antique laid paper, framing line in brown ink, laid down on a gold-bordered mount
6.9 x 22 cm (2 11/16 x 8 11/16 in.)
mount: 8 x 23.5 cm (3 1/8 x 9 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: lower left, brown ink: Hans bol / 1582
  • watermark: none visible
John, Lord Viscount Hampden, sold; [Sotheby, London, 27 June 1827, lot 21 (with two others)]. William Esdaile, London (L. 2617, without his mark), sold; [Christie’s, London, 18 June 1840 and five following days, lot 576]; to [Hodgson and Graves, London.] Uchter John Mark Knox, fifth Earl of Ranfurly, London, sold; [Christie's, London, 26 March, 1928, lot 34]; to [Savile Gallery, London.] [H. M. Calmann, London], sold; to Fogg Art Museum, 1940.
Published Text
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: The Complete Collection Online
Multiple authors
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017–)

Entry by William W. Robinson, completed March 07, 2019:

In addition to works in transparent and opaque watercolor (see 2001.54 and 2004.75), Hans Bol produced 66 autograph etchings and designed 266 compositions engraved by professional printmakers. Of approximately 260 surviving drawings in ink or ink and wash, around 100 are studies or models for prints (see 1994.156) .1

This, and another landscape of the same dimensions in the Harvard collection (1941.15), served as models for engravings in a series designed by Bol. Engraved by Adriaen Collaert and an unidentified printmaker, and published in Antwerp in 1582 by Philips Galle, the set comprises a title and 47 hunting scenes. Plates portray hunters and fishermen pursuing a wide variety of game, from elephants and ostriches to whales, hares, small birds, and wild boars. Two of the prints depict urban fish and meat markets, where some of the prey ended up.2 Woodcock Hunt with Snare and Net, plate 24 in the set, was engraved by the unidentified engraver (Fig. 1).3

Bol’s drawings for ten plates in the series, including the two Harvard sheets, have survived. All are similar in size and handling of the ink and wash, and all were reproduced faithfully, in reverse, in the prints. At least half were incised to transfer the outlines of the design to the engraver’s plate. Most are signed by Bol and several are dated 1582, the year of their publication.4 When they appeared at auction in 1928, the two Harvard drawings and two in the National Gallery of Canada were offered in the same frame and had evidently been together since they belonged to John, Lord Viscount Hampden, whose collection was sold in 1827.5

Galle presumably commissioned the designs from Bol in response to the popularity of the extensive series of hunts after drawings by Jan van der Straet, which Galle published in 1578–80 (see 1997.205) .6 Some of the Latin texts beneath the images in the engravings after Bol are identical to texts under prints in the series designed by Van der Straet.7 The smaller size and oblong format of Bol’s series may have been suggested by other suites of hunting scenes, such as the set of six published in 1565 in Antwerp by Abraham de Bruyn or the set engraved before 1572 by French printmaker and draftsman Etienne Delaune. Bol’s drawings are identical in size to the Delaune prints, and he appears to have followed the artist’s compositional strategies to accommodate many figures pursuing game within a small and pronounced oblong format.8


1 Stefaan Hautekeete, “New Insights into the Working Methods of Hans Bol,” Master Drawings 50 (3) (2012): 329; see Stefaan Hautekeete in New Hollstein, Hans Bol, part 1, pp. xxvii–xxx, lxi.

2 Venationis, Piscationis, et Aucupii Typi, printed by Philips Galle, Antwerp, 1582. The title credits Bol as the designer of the prints. Hautekeete in New Hollstein, Hans Bol, part 2, nos. 277–324.

3 Unidentified engraver, after Hans Bol, Woodcock Hunt with Snare and Net, engraving, 74 × 212 mm, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-P-1886-A-10833; Hautekeete in New Hollstein, Hans Bol, part 2, no. 301.

4 In addition to the two Harvard sheets, they are: Bear Hunt (plate 4 in the series), in 2014 with Galerie Nathalie Motte Masselink, Paris; Chamois Hunt (plate 8), Christie’s, London, 26 March 1968, lot 78; Wolf Hunt (plate 9), in 2014 with Galerie Nathalie Motte Masselink, Paris; Hare Hunt with Hounds (plate 10), Victoria and Albert Museum, London, D 923; Rabbit Hunt (plate 11), Sotheby’s, London, 23 March 1972, lot 30; Hare Hunt with Hounds and Spears (plate 12), Victoria and Albert Museum, London, D 924; Bird Catcher with Bird Lime (plate 27), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 4555; Netting Quails with Quail Pipe in the Field (plate 28), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 4554. For the related prints, see Hautekeete in New Hollstein, Hans Bol, part 2, nos. 281, 285–89, 304–5.

5 See Provenance. Lot 21 in the 1827 sale of Viscount Hampden comprised four drawings by Bol. The same four appeared as “The Four Seasons, bistre, from Lord Hampden’s Collection,” in the 1840 sale of William Esdaile, although only Harvard’s 1941.15 still bears Esdaile’s mark. In the Christie’s sale of 26 March 1928, lot 34 was described as “Trapping Birds—a set of four, in one frame.” They were later with H. M. Calmann, London, who sold two each to Harvard and the National Gallery of Canada in 1940. All four have the same green border around the drawing on the mount.

6 See Joaneath Spicer in Mimi Cazort, Master Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1988), pp. 99–100.

7 Hautekeete in New Hollstein, Hans Bol, part 1, pp. xcii–xciv.

8 For Delaune’s series, see George Wanklyn in The French Renaissance in Prints from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, ed. Karen Jacobson (Los Angeles: Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, 1994–95), no. 111, pp. 360–61. For the series by Abraham de Bruyn, see Ursula Mielke in New Hollstein, Abraham de Bruyn, part 1, nos. 184–89.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of Art, Archaeology and Music at Harvard Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

A Thousand Years of Landscape East and West (Paintings, Drawings, Prints), exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1945), p. 2

Agnes Mongan, ed., One Hundred Master Drawings, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1949), p. 66, repr.

Five Centuries of Drawings, exh. cat., The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, Canada, 1953), sub cat nos. 114 and 115, n.p.

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, checklist, Unpublished (1954), cat. no. 9, p. 2 (with 1941.15)

Heinrich Gerhard Franz, "Hans Bol als Landschaftzeichner", Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Institutes der Universiteit (1965), vol. 1, p. 53, 64, no. 136-7, repr.

Arthur E. Popham and K. M. Fenwick, European Drawings (and two Asian drawings) in the Collection of the National Gallery of Canada, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, 1965), p. 91, under no. 128-129

European Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada, exh. cat., P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (London, England, 1969), under cat. no. 22

Konrad Oberhuber, European Master Drawings of Six Centuries from the Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Tokyo, 1979), cat. no. 30, n.p., repr. pl. 30

Mimi Cazort, Master Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1988), under cat. no. 31, p. 99, 101 (n. 3 and 8)

F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein : Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, 1450-1700, Koninklijke van Poll, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, and Sound + Vision Publishers (Roosendall, Rotterdam, and Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, 1993 - ongoing), vol. 27 (Hans Bol, compiled by Ursula Mielke with contributions by Stefaan Hautekeete, 2015), part 2, p. 169, under no. 301

Jane Turner and Christopher White, Dutch & Flemish Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Publishing (London, 2014), vol. 2, p. 372, under no. 447

Jennifer Tonkovich, "Hans Calmann and the American Market for Old Master Drawings 1937-73", Master Drawings (Spring 2021), vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 49-72, p. 59

Exhibition History

A Thousand Years of Landscape East and West, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 10/24/1945 - 12/09/1945

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/01/1954 - 04/30/1954

The Drawing, Pomona College Gallery, 09/22/1960 - 10/16/1960

Old Master Drawings, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, 09/30/1963 - 10/21/1963

European Master Drawing of Six Centuries from the Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 11/03/1979 - 12/16/1979

Northern Renaissance Art: Selected Works, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 02/28/1984 - 04/08/1984

Prints and Drawings from the Time of Holbein and Breugel, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1985 - 01/12/1986

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

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