Robert Jenkin wrote:
Till very recently I speculated that some of the later SAC illustrations, including ‘people of Island Moa Iamna and other surrounding islands’ and ‘Thus appears the vessel of Noua Guinea and people dwelling therein’ might have been the work of a different draughtsman/copyist. I thought I saw in them a somewhat tidier, less sketchy style.
But now, on close examination of details such as those I’ve pasted in below, I’m coming to the view that all the large composite illustrations were created and copied by one man.
Without ‘The Merchant of the Zeehaen’ we would have no earlier signed work of Gilsemans with which to compare them.
It would be very good to have the benefit of any such expert appraisal, that of a trained art historian, one able to discern stylistic differences with confidence and so discern whether or not a given work of art is in the hand of a known master. But failing that we do have Anderson’s evidence, and many thanks are due to him for finding and presenting it.
Also, thanks to the internet, and to the generosity of the National Archive of the Netherlands, we have the chance to view the details of these images online and judge them for ourselves here.
The following are details from the two Tongan illustrations of ‘native inhabitants’ and the two later ones. The more closely I look the more I think the drawing style of all these images is actually very similar.
I invite comments as to whether other viewers think so too: