"The Naughty French Postcards"

Rumbrand van Rijn

During his sober moments Rumbrand occasionally found work as a painter of official groups. In the days before photography this was the only way of visually recording the membership in these prestigious societies. Here we see what was supposed to have been the official portrait of the Textile Inspectors Guild of Leyden in the Netherlands. Rumbrand did all of his preliminary sketch work while his subjects thought he was just warming up. They were distracted by the collection of racy French postcards that Pieter Piepercorn, chairman of the guild, had brought back from his recent trip to a trade show in Marseilles.


It should go without saying that the finished work was soundly rejected when it was presented to the Leyden Town Council for hanging in the Hall of Deputies.


Rumbrand had a similar experience when he won the low bid to produce "The Night Watch", which was to commemorate the Kloveniersdoelen, the musketeer branch of the civic militia, a sort of early police force. Instead of nobly posing them on duty guarding the citizenry of Amsterdam, Rumbrand hastily sketched them while they were on break at a local bordello. The unveiling of the piece in the new Kloveniersdoelen Hall before the assembled gentry of the city was said to have resulted in several prominent divorces and other unpleasantness. It was at this point in his career that Rumbrand stopped going out after sundown.

 

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