Berchem depicts the action of a hunting party in full swing here. A huntsman aims his gun at a wild boar that is running for its life. At the edge of the woods another boar is being roused, while a dead roe lies in the foreground. Several dogs at the left are panting with exertion.
This hunting scene belonged to the small yet exquisite collection of Govert van Slingelandt, which William V purchased in its entirety in 1768 when he was only twenty years old. Aristocratic landscapes like this would have appealed to the prince – he was brought up on the hunting parties at Het Loo Palace. This was his world.
Michiel van Hoeken and Theodoor Hartsoeker, The Hague; their sale, The Hague, 1 May 1742 (Lugt 556), no. 11 (405 guilders); Willem Lormier, The Hague, 1742-1754; Govert van Slingelandt, The Hague, 1754-1767; his widow, Agatha Huydecoper, The Hague, 1767-1768; Van Slingelandt sale, The Hague, 18 May 1768 (Lugt 1683), no. 21; the entire collection sold to Prince William V; Prince William V, The Hague, 1768-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum Central des Arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822