Artist biography

Siberechts was one of hundreds of Dutch and Flemish artists who came to Britain in the seventeenth century. He was baptised in Antwerp in 1627. The son of a sculptor, he was elected to the Guild of St Luke in 1648. By 1674 he was in England, apparently at the encouragement of George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, who had seen some of Siberechts's landscapes in Antwerp in 1670. He was a Catholic and one of his daughters was a lace-maker for the Queen. His younger daughter, Frances, married the sculptor John Nost.

His earliest known landscapes were Italianate in style, following a probable visit to Italy in the late 1640s. Afterwards he painted Flemish scenes containing figures and animals, although he was known in England as a painter of topographical views of country houses and generalised landscapes, particularly of the Peak District. He seems to have travelled widely in Britain, and was in Wales in 1696. His undated View of Nottingham and the Trent (Coll. Lord Middleton, Birdsall House, Yorks.) is possibly among the earliest of British landscape paintings. His country house commissions included views of Longleat (1675), Chevely (1681), Chatsworth (1694) and Wollaton (1695). He remained in England until his death.

Further reading:
T.H. Fokker, Jan Siberechts, Peintre de la Paysanne Flamande, Brussels and Paris 1931
John Harris, The Artist and the Country House, London 1979, pp.46-8
Lindsay Stainton and Christopher White, Drawing in England from Hilliard to Hogarth, London 1987, p.155
Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain 1530 to 1790, revised edition, New Haven and London 1994, pp.117-18, 154, 155, 240, 297

Terry Riggs
October 1997