This arresting image of a hoopoe in flight is attributed to the renowned ornithological painter Aert Schouman, who specialized in pictures of birds in the manner of Hondecoeter and Weenix, working in Dordrecht, Middelburg and The Hague. Schouman began his painting career as a pupil of Adriaan van der Burg, to whom he was apprenticed for eight years, before leading, firstly, the Dordrecht Guild of St Luke from 1751, then The Hague Drawing School.
The presence of a hoopoe is traditionally associated with good fortune, most eloquently expressed in Fariduddin Attar’s The Conference of the Birds. But since these birds do not like the climate of the British Isles, all we have is the National Lottery.
Provenance: Raphael Vals Gallery
Private collection, Belgium