Bartholomeus van der Helst: Colf playing boy near the coast (1658)

This painting is attributed to Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670).

It shows a boy portrait of a happy, lavishly dressed boy (all boys were depicted in beautiful dresses at the time), who plays colf by the coast and is about to hit a ball with a colf stick.

In the past, this painting was known for a long time as a portrait of King-Stadholder William III as a child (8 years old) and attributed to Albert Cuyp (1620-1691).

The bows on the sleeves (an orange bow and one with the red-white-blue) do point in that direction.

The blue dress is said to be a reference to the Order of the Garter, a prestigious and oldest English order, which our King William Alexander also received from Queen Elisabeth in 2018. Prince William III received it from his uncle Charles II in 1652 at the age of 3.