Potter, Paul

, an excellent landscape painter, was born at Enkhuysen, in 1625, and learned the principles of painting from his father, Peter Potter, who was but a moderate artist; yet, by the power of an enlarged genius and uncommon capacity, which he discovered even in his infancy, his improvement was so extraordinary, that he was considered as a prodigy, and appeared an expert master in his profession at the age of fifteen.

Paul’s subjects were landscapes, with different animals, but principally cows, oxen, sheep, and goats, which he painted in the highest perfection. His colouring is soft, agreeable, and transparent, and appears to be true nature; his touch is free, and exceedingly delicate, and his outline very correct. His skies, trees, and distances, shew a remarkable freedom of hand, and a masterly ease and negligence: but his animals are exquisitely finished, and touched with abundance of spirit. On these accounts he is esteemed one of the best painters of the Low Countries. His only amusement was walking into the fields; and even | that amusement he so managed, as to make it conduce to the advancement of his knowledge in that art; for he always sketched every scene and object on the spot, and afterwards composed his subjects from his drawings; frequently he etched those sketches, and the prints are deservedly very estimable.

The paintings of Potter are exceedingly coveted, and bear a high price; because, beside their intrinsic merit, the artist having died young, in his twenty-ninth year, in 1654, and not painted a great number of pictures, they are now scarcely to be procured at any rate. One landscape, which originally he painted for the countess of Solms, was afterwards sold (as Houbraken affirms) to Jacob Van Hoeck, for 2000 florins. Lord Grosvenor has in his collection a small work of Potter’s, for which his lordship gave 900 guineas. 1


Pilkington. —Rees’s Cyclopædia, Argenville, vol. III. —Descamps, vol. II.