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The Heemskerk family of painters, originally from Haarlem, settled in London in the 1670s. Heemskerk senior specialised in low-life scenes set in shops, taverns or meeting houses. He appears to have trained a son as a painter, who was also a singer at Sadler's Wells. Heemskerk junior was a coarse imitator of his father's works, adapting similar compositions with updated costumes. The subject of a dying man surrounded by lamenting family and friends, and by representatives of the church, the law, and of medicine, was a popular one and exists in many versions. Heemskerk's paintings were often attributed to Hogarth as early as the eighteenth century.

September 2004