Pieter Casteels III

A study of birds and waterfowl

Pieter Casteels III was born in Antwerp in 1684. He was the son of Pieter Casteels II, who was also a painter, although not many works by him are known. He was taught by his father and became a member of the Antwerp guild of St Luke in 1712. Between 1708 and 1711 he spent some time in England, where he was accompanied by his brother-in-law, the artist Peter Tillemans. He would return to England permanently in 1717; he died in Richmond in 1749.

Casteels mostly painted flower still lifes – in the style of Monnoyer – and landscapes with birds, in the style of Gillis Hondecoeter. The present work, which is minutely executed in a single medium (pen and ink) with rapid yet accurate pen-strokes, depicts a group of birds by the water. A peacock and a number of other birds sit on the waterside, while a duck and a goose paddle quietly in the water.

Interestingly, the painter also sketched the outlines of a still life composition on the back of the sheet. Although it is still very sketchy, one can make out a bunch of grapes and other fruits. Several still life paintings by Casteels are known, yet virtually no preparatory works for them survive, making this a very interesting work of art.


Artist: Pieter Casteels III (Antwerp 1684 - 1749 Richmond)
Medium: pen and brown ink on laid paper
Dimensions: 88 x 116 mm