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The smith Jan Lutma, designated as a portrait of a member of the Molins family. Oil painting after Rembrandt.

  • Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669.
[ca. 1920?]
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view The smith Jan Lutma, designated as a portrait of a member of the Molins family. Oil painting after Rembrandt.


In copyright
Credit: The smith Jan Lutma, designated as a portrait of a member of the Molins family. Oil painting after Rembrandt. Wellcome Collection. In copyright

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About this work


Apparently either painted as a a portrait of Jan Lutma, and then transformed into a portrait of a member of the Molins family, or painted as an ideal portrait of a member of the Molins family using the portrait of Jan Lutma as its exemplar

There is an etched portrait by Rembrandt of a worker in precious metals, Jan Lutma the elder, seated in a chair, dated 1656. The copper plate depicts him directed to right, impressions from the copper plate show him directed to left, and counterproofs of impressions show him directed to right. The present painting follows the composition of that etching, with the subject directed to right. It includes a piece of auricular silverware on the table, as in the etching of Lutma, a silversmith. However changes have been made to the composition, probably to support the redesignation of the sitter as "James Molines, Master of the Barber-Surgeons Company 1632" (label from ca. 1923 on the front of the frame): two bottles have been added on the table, and the statuette held by Lutma has been replaced by a key. The chair, the dignified appearance of the old man, and the added key were probably considered suitable attributes for the effective president of the company, while the bottles were appropriate for the Molins believed to have prescribed soothing draughts for Samuel Pepys (see below)

The label refers to one of several members of the Molins (Molines, Mullens, Moulines, Moleyns etc.) family, twelve of whom are mentioned in the records of the Barber-Surgeons' Company during the seventeenth century. James Molins (d. 1638), his son Edward (ca. 1610-1663), and Edward's son James (ca. 1630-1687), were surgeons for the stone at St. Thomas's and St. Bartholomew's hospitals in London between 1623 and 1687, while Edward's brother William (1617-1691) was a surgeon and anatomist: none of these four was Master of the Barber-Surgeons Company, and three of them (the elder James, Edward and William) were at various times reprimanded by the Company. Literary sources between 1878 and 1933 state that one of the James Molins treated Oliver Cromwell for bladder stone in 1656, though the surgeon concerned was probably Edward, and another source states that one of the James Molins assisted in the treatment of Samuel Pepys for bladder stone in 1658, though it is more likely to have been John Micklethwaite (1612-1682)--Morris, op. cit.


[ca. 1920?]

Physical description

1 painting : oil on wood ; wood 19 x 15 cm

References note

G.C.R. Morris, 'Which Molins treated Cromwell for stone - and did not prescribe for Pepys?', Medical history, 1982, 26: 429-435

Lettering note

Inscribed on back of panel: L. [?] Molines Rembrandt


Wellcome Library no. 45734i

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