Edwaert Collier

1640 – 1708

A Trompe l’Oeil with a Portrait of Erasmus


Oil on Canvas


Trompe L'Oeil


37.2(h) x 27(w) cms


Edwaert Collier was born in Breda and possibly trained in Haarlem, where he was first recorded as a Guild member. He moved to Leiden in 1667, joining the local Guild in 1673, and stayed there until 1693 when, allegedly, he was forced to move to London in great haste following controversy and three troubled marriages dating from 1670, 1677 and 1681, respectively. He remained in London for the rest of his life, apart from a brief period spent in Leiden between 1702 and 1706.

Collier's preferred subjects were 'Vanitas' compositions with musical instruments, books, a globe and a nautilus-shell, piled together on the corner of a table, on a velvet cloth with gold fringes. He excelled at painting open books, sheets of paper with writing or drawings on them, rich jewellery and pearl necklaces. However, he is most highly regarded for his trompe l'oeil subjects in which he cleverly pins letters, pamphlets and writing instruments on to a wall, holding everything in place with strips of red material. His smaller portraits are rare and lack the originality he displays in his trompe l'oeils.

This artwork is not framed.


Private Collection, France