Skip to main content

The Rat-Catcher: P.15079-R

Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Rat-Catcher


Printmaker: Smith, John
Publisher: Smith, John
Printmaker: Visscher, Cornelis de (After)




Head and shoulders of an old, bearded man wearing a tattered and patched coat and a fur hat. Head turned slightly towards the left. A small rat sits on his cloak at the far right, looking out at the viewer. After Cornelis Visscher's large plate, The Rat-Catcher (1655; Hollstein, 50) in which the figure is three-quarter length and standing with his boy and dog in a courtyard.


History note: VanSittart gave 1,485 engravings to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1879 and this mezzotint was probably included within this group. The number written in pen and ink on the verso presumably relates to Vansittart's own cataloguing system and the number written in graphite to some kind of count by curators at the time of the acquisition.

Legal notes

Given by Augustus Arthur VanSittart, ?1879

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1879) by VanSittart, Augustus Arthur


18th Century#
Circa 1683 - Circa 1729


Mezzotint. Small plate (140mm x 112mm). Scratched onto the plate in the narrow margin at lower right: 'I S Ex'. Good-sized margins. Hollstein records that Abraham Blooteling made a copy in reverse of the head and shoulders only (Hollstein 50, copy d; Cf. BM: 1843,0513.557). However, this plate is likely to have been Smith's own copy in reverse after Visscher which is mentioned in Hollstein: 'Furthermore eighteenth and nineteenth-century copies by: H.W. Couwenberg, Richard Houston, F. Mecheux, the count of Meluen, J. Smith, D. Sluyter, George Vertue and D. Vrydag.' Cf. NPG D11807. Inscribed in pen and ink on the verso: '2647' and in graphite: 'Vansittart Collection'; '523(3)'; '112'.

School or Style


Techniques used in production


Identification numbers

Accession number: P.15079-R
Primary reference Number: 240109
Wessely (Smith): undescribed
Chaloner Smith: undescribed
Hollstein (Dutch/Flemish): 50 (Cornelis Visscher)
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Thursday 9 January 2020 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Rat-Catcher" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-25 13:08:14

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=The Rat-Catcher |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-25 13:08:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: O.72-1991


Accession Number: O.64-1991

Rat catcher

Accession Number: O.67-1991

The rat catcher

Accession Number: AD.12.40-20

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...