In 2008 this brightly lit Italianate scene of herdsmen resting in a cave with cattle and goats was offered at Christie’s. The catalogue confirmed that the painting was by Doomer, that it bore the artist’s signature, and that it was included as an authentic work in W. Schulz’s catalogue raisonné of Doomer (1972). The painting was on a beautiful oak panel and in mint condition.
Although Lambert Doomer (1624-1700) is not very well known, he enjoys a considerable reputation among a small group of connoisseurs, particularly as a draughtsman. There are some 300 drawings by him which cover a wide range of subjects such as landscapes, houses and picturesque scenes. Almost all of his drawings reflect things that he had seen on his frequent travels.
In 1646 Doomer undertook one of his most important journeys when he went to France with fellow-artist Willem Schellinks. The two men first travelled down the Loire valley to Nantes, where Doomer’s brother lived, and then made their way up along the river Seine to Rouen, where they eventually parted company. Schellinks recorded his experiences in a travel journal.
In 2006 the Institut Néerlandais mounted Voyages en France, an exhibition that focused on Doomer’s French journey with Schellinks, and which subsequently travelled to the Rembrandt House Museum. With the impression made by this exhibition still fresh in my mind, I was immediately struck by the landscape when it turned up at Christie’s. Doomer’s painted oeuvre is very small, making this an important discovery. The work turned out to be in perfect condition and the astonishing handling of the light and rich array of browns and yellows persuaded me at once that this was a piece of real quality. A Dutch collector, impressed by these arguments, decided to bid for the painting. Successfully!