Watercolour with bodycolour and scratching out, inscribed verso in pencil: Hors du port de Hal.
The distinctive tower of Notre Dame de la Chapelle, where Pieter Bruegel the Elder is buried, is seen on the right-hand side of the composition. It was built near the city walls in the twelfth century, although the remains today date from a century later. The nearby Porte de Hal is the only surviving fortified city gate of the walls of medieval Brussels. The two towers of Brussels cathedral balance the view to the left.
Boys made several visits to Belgium in the late 1820s and early 1830s and was in Brussels during the Belgian Revolution of 1830. His wife Célestine was Belgian, her home either in or near Soignies.
The artist’s virtuoso mastery of watercolour techniques is splendidly illustrated in the deft handling of the medium in this drawing.
Provenance: The artist’s sale; John Manning, 8 Bury Street; Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; Anthony Molins, his sale at Sotheby’s London, 24 November 1977; Private collection, UK