For the first time in 200 years, two great master paintings will be reunited and go on display in London.

The two paintings by Rubens, A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning and The Rainbow Landscape have long been considered companion pieces but haven’t been seen next to each other for some 200 years.

They will come back together this summer at the Wallace Collection following the first-ever loan of the recently restored A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning by the National Gallery.

The two paintings show a landscape scene painted from Ruben’s country estate of Het Steen, and provided the inspiration for the view seen in A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning — a broad panoramic sweep that appears to continue into the farmland depicted in its companion piece, The Rainbow Landscape. The rainbow is not just a way of adding a burst of colour to an idealised landscape, but sent a message that was better understood at the time, of peace and hope following the Eighty Years’ War.

The Rainbow Landscape, c.1636 (c) Trustees of The Wallace Collection

A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning, probably 1636 (c) Trustees of The National Gallery

The two paintings were in Rubens’s collection on his death in 1640, and after a brief separation (when they were kept by his family) are believed to have remained together until they arrived in Britain in the early nineteenth century.

The National Gallery’s painting was purchased by Lady Beaumont as a gift for her husband Sir George, who donated it to the National Gallery in 1826. The Rainbow Landscape was bought in 1856 by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, whose collections later formed part of the Wallace Collection.

Attempts to reunite the paintings in the past have not been possible, mainly due to the fragile state of the wooden boards that support them.

The exhibition is therefore the first opportunity to see the National Gallery painting newly cleaned and conserved, as throughout 2020 it has been the focus of a major conservation project specifically in preparation for this reunion. The pair will be hung in new historically appropriate, matching frames, also created especially for this exhibition.

The exhibition, Rubens: Reunited the great landscapes will be at the Wallace Collection from 3rd June to 15th August.

Entry to the Wallace Collection is free, but tickets need to be booked in advance here.

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