Artist biography

Little is known about Collier. He signed himself 'Edwaert Colyer' in his Dutch works but later anglicised his name to Edward Collier. He was born in Breda but the year of his birth is not known. Maarten Wurfbain (in Turner, p.568) gives his date of birth as c.1640. Collier's earliest known work is dated 1662. He entered the St Luke's Guild at Leiden in 1673, at which time he was also a member of the guild in Haarlem. Between 1670 and 1681 he was married at least three times in Leiden. Records indicate that he was living in Amsterdam in 1686.

Many of Collier's vanitas and trompe l'oeil paintings include English texts and objects and seem to have been painted for the English market, a common practice among Dutch artists working in Holland. A number of paintings dated for the years 1695-8 bear inscriptions describing him as a 'Painter at London', indicating that he spent some time there. Lord Lothian was apparently a patron of this particular type of painting; at Newbattle Abbey there are examples of trompe l'oeil pictures by Collier and Roestraeten.

Although many authorities give his death as before 1702, this probably stems from his confusion with an Evert Colier, who was dead by 1702. His last known painting is signed 'London 1707'. Wurfbain (in Turner, p.568) gives as a possible date of death 1 February 1710, based on burial records at Leiden for a man named Evert Pietersz. Coleyn.

Further reading:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1988, pp.11-12
Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain 1530-1790, revised edition, New Haven and London 1994, pp.115-16
Jane Turner (ed.), The Dictionary of Art, London 1996, VII, pp.568-9

Terry Riggs
January 1998