Schelte a Bolswert

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Portrait of Willem de Vos, after Anthony van Dyck, engraved between 1632 and 1641.

Schelte a Bolswert (1586–1659) was a leading Dutch engraver, noted for his works after Rubens and Van Dyck.


He was born in the town of Bolswert, in Friesland, in 1586.[1] Both he and his older brother, Boetius à Bolswert, worked in Amsterdam and Haarlem before settling in Antwerp.[2] For the last five years of his life Boetius worked exclusively on engravings after Rubens. Following his death in 1633, Schelte was employed by Rubens in his place,[2] working closely with the painter, who sometimes retouched his proofs.[1] He continued to engrave his works after Rubens' death in 1640.[2]

Bolswert's plates were worked entirely with the graver, and he does not seem to have made any use of the drypoint.[1] Basan said of his work:

The freedom which this excellent artist handled the graver, the picturesque roughness of etching, which he could imitate without any other assisting instrument, and the ability he possessed of distinguishing the different masses of colours, have always been admired by the conoisseurs".[3]

Joseph Strutt, after quoting this passage, adds that Bolswert "drew excellently, and without any manner of his own; for his prints are the exact transcripts of the pictures he engraved from".[3] His plates are generally signed with his name.[1]

He died at Antwerp in 1659.[1]

Principal prints[edit]

Various subjects, mostly after his own designs[edit]

Various subjects, after different Flemish masters[edit]

Elegant company in an interior, after a painting by Christoffel van der Laemen, now at the National Portrait Gallery.

Portraits, etc., after Van Dyck[edit]

Portrait of Jan Baptist Barbé, after Anthony van Dyck, ca. 1636-1641.

Subjects after Rubens[edit]

  • The Brazen Serpent; the best impressions are those which have the word Antwerpiae at the right hand corner, without the name of G. Hendrix.
  • The Marriage of the Virgin; the best impressions have the name of Hendrix, without the word Antwerpiae.
  • The Annunciation; the best impressions are those with the address of M. van den Enden.
  • The Nativity; the best impressions have the same address.
  • The Adoration of the Magi; the same.
  • The Return of the Holy Family from Egypt: the same.
  • The Feast of Herod, with Herodias presenting the Head of St. John to her Mother.
  • The Executioner giving the Head of St. John to Herodias.
  • The miraculous Draught of Fishes; in three plates.
  • Christ crucified between the Thieves; G. Hendrix exc.
  • The Crucifixion, a Soldier on horseback piercing the side of Our Saviour; dated 1631; extremely fine.
  • The Crucifixion, with the city of Jerusalem in the distance; M. van den Enden exc.
  • The Dead Christ in the Lap of the Virgin Mary, with. St. Francis; the same subject is engraved by Pontius.
  • The Resurrection; M. van den Enden excudit.
  • The Ascension; the same.
  • The Four Evangelists.
  • The Fathers of the Church; Nic. Lauwers exc.
  • The Destruction of Idolatry; in two sheets; the same.
  • The Triumph of the Church; in two sheets; the same.
  • The Immaculate Conception; Ant. Bon. Enfant exc.
  • The Assumption; arched; M. van den Enden exc.
  • The Assumption, with one of the Disciples lifting the Stone of the Sepulchre; M. van den Enden ; the impressions with the address of G. Hendrix are posterior, and those with the name of C. van Merlen are retouched.
  • The Infant Jesus embracing the Virgin Mary; M. van den Enden exc.
  • The Virgin Mary holding a Globe, and the Infant Jesus holding a Sceptre.
  • The Holy Family, vrith the Infant Jesus and St. John caressing a Lamb.
  • The Holy Family, with a Parrot on a Pillar; A. Bonenfant exc.
  • St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier; the first impressions are before the name of Rubens.
  • The Education of the Virgin by St. Anne; the best impressions are without the name of Hendrix.
  • St. Cecilia; very fine.
  • St. Theresa at the Feet of Christ, interceding for the Souls in Purgatory; M. van den Enden exc.
  • The Continence of Scipio; the best impressions are before the address of G. Hendrix.
  • Silenus, drunk, supported by a Satyr, with another figure; the best impressions are those with the name of Bolswert only, without the address.
  • A Peasant Dance,[4] Gillis Hendricx excudit.

Landscapes and hunting scenes[edit]

Schelte Bolswert: Shipwreck of Aeneas (large landscape after Rubens).


  1. ^ a b c d e Bryan 1886
  2. ^ a b c Rubens and his Engravers. London: P.D. Colnaghi and Sons. 1977.
  3. ^ a b Strutt, Joseph (1786). "Sheltius a Bolswert or Bolsuerd". A Biographical Dictionary Containing All the Engravers, From the Earliest Period of the Art of Engraving to the Present Day. London: Robert Faulder. pp. 118–21.
  4. ^ Original: Museo del Prado, c. 1636-1640, oil on panel.
  5. ^ 480 x 650mm. See Christie's Sale 6223, Prints (30 Nov 1999), Lot 22. Examples in Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Catalogue gives series date attribution 1638. Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Rubens c 1625: Kunsthistorischesmuseum, Vienna, Austria. E.g.Fitzwilliam Museum Accession K.28.
  7. ^ Rubens c 1620: Gemäldegalerie (Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz), Berlin, Germany.
  8. ^ E.g. Baillieu Library loan colln., Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne.
  9. ^ Rubens - Adler 36 (Berlin State Museum). E.g. Fitzwilliam Museum Accession K.23.
  10. ^ cf. John Gage, Colour and Culture (University of California Press 1999), p.95.
  11. ^ E.g. Fitzwilliam Museum Accession K.24.
  12. ^ Rubens c. 1618: Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. E.g. Fitzwilliam Museum Accession K.22.


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBryan, Michael (1886). "Bolswert, Scheltius à". In Graves, Robert Edmund (ed.). Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (A–K). I (3rd ed.). London: George Bell & Sons.

Further reading[edit]