Hondius, Abraham

, another artist, well known in this kingdom, was born at Rotterdam in 1638, according to the most authentic writers, though Descamps fixes his birth in 1650. He appears to have been an universal master, painting, with equal readiness, landscapes, animals of all kinds, particularly dogs, huntings of wild animals, boars, deer, wolves, and foxes, as also conversations and fowls; but his favourite subjects were huntings. His manner seems peculiar to himself; it was bold and free; and, except Rubens and Snyders, few masters have painted animals in a greater style, or with more spirit. There is certainly a great deal of fire in his compositions; but his colouring is often extravagant, and his drawing extremely incorrect. In general his pencilling was harsh, and he delighted in a fiery tint; yet some of his small pictures are very neatly finished. There is a great inequality as to the merit of the works of Hondius, some of them being in every respect abundantly superior to others; but there is scarce any master whose compositions are so easily distinguishable as those of Hondius, by certain particularities in his touch, his taste of design, and his colouring.

Several of his pictures of dogs are much esteemed; and one especially is mentioned, in which he represented thirty different species of those animals, all being well designed, and every distinct animal being characterised with some peculiar air, action, expression, or attitude. As he was exceedingly harassed and tormented with the gout, the works of his latter time are more negligently executed than those which he finished in his prime; and, therefore, they very much contribute to lessen the reputation he had acquired by some of his more studied and better finished performances. His most capital picture is the burning of Troy, in which there are a variety of figures, many of them well designed, and disposed with judgment. Houbraken also mentions a candle-light of this master’s hand, in which appeared a fine opposition of light and shadow, and the figures were extremely well designed and well coloured. When he came to England is not known. Vertue says he | was a man of humour. He lived on Ludgate-hill, but died of a severe fit of the gout in 1695 at the Blackmoor’s head, over against Water-lane, Fleet-street. Iodocus or Jesse Hondius is supposed to have been his grandfather. He was born at Wackerne, a small town in Flanders, in 1563, and died in 1611. He was a self-taught engraver both on copper and ivory, and a letter-founder; in all which branches he attained great excellence. He studied geography also, and in 1607 published a work entitled “Descriptio Geographica orbis terrarum,” in folio. 1


Pilkington. Orford’s Anecdotes. —Strutt’s Dictionary. —Rees’s Cyclopædia.