Pictures Around Cromer
Two Tax-Gatherers

Marinus van Reymerswale

Duncan Baker, MP, with Two Tax-Gatherers Artist Workshop of Marinus van Reymerswale, photo Malcolm English

Two Tax-Gatherers

Marinus van Reymerswale

The Two Tax-Gatherers is at Merchants’ Place

Marinus van Reymerswale Two Tax-Gatherers, 1540s
Workshop of Marinus van Reymerswale, active 1533 – 1545, Two Tax-Gatherers, probably 1540s, Oil on oak, 92 × 74.6 cm, Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876, © National Gallery

Two Tax-Gatherers, 1540s

Artist Workshop of Marinus van Reymerswale

Oil on oak, 92 × 74.6 cm

Two strikingly ugly men in extraordinary clothing are seated at a table in a panelled interior. One writes in a ledger, the other – his features contorted into a sneer – grasps at a pile of coins. Documents, some of them legible, are piled on a cupboard behind the pair.

Marinus van Reymerswale and his workshop produced a number of versions of this very successful composition; many include manuscripts and legal documents that contain references to the town and inhabitants of Reymerswale, where Marinus probably spent much of his life.


Marinus van Reymerswale

active 1533 – 1545

Marinus van Reymerswale is known mainly for his satirical paintings. There are three types of subject – the Banker and his Wife (after Massys), the Tax Gatherers, of which the National Gallery has the best example, and Saint Jerome (after Dürer). His marked gift for caricature probably derives from Leonardo through the work of Massys, with whom Marinus would have become familiar in Antwerp.

The son of a painter, who was recorded in Antwerp in 1475, Marinus is thought to have been trained by a glass painter there in 1509. There are signed paintings by him from 1538 to 1547, but little is known of his life. His banishment from Middleburgh in 1567 is apparently the last known record of him.