No royal collection in the eighteenth century was complete unless it included some paintings by Philips Wouwerman. At that time, the importance of a collection was only partly judged on its Rembrandts and Vermeers. When the famous painter and art critic Sir Joshua Reynolds visited William V’s Gallery, he began his account by listing the Wouwermans. This was good news for the prince, who owned nine works by the artist.
Wouwerman was popular because he specialised in vast landscapes featuring hunting parties, rural idylls and, above all, horses. And it was these horses that particularly appealed to eighteenth-century royalty.
Samuel van Huls, The Hague, 1737; his auction, The Hague, 24 april 1737 (Lugt 845), no. 5 (for 680 guilders to ‘Blok’); Willem Lormier, The Hague, 1737-1763; Govert van Slingelandt, The Hague, 1763-1767; his widow, Agatha Huydecoper, The Hague, 1767-1768; Van Slingelandt sale, The Hague, 18 May 1768 (Lugt 1683), no. 22; 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