Two other watercolours of the Keizersgracht by Vinkeles were sold at Drouot, Paris, 18 May 1999, lot 115 (illustrated in Travels through Town and Country, exhib. cat., Haarlem, Teylers Museum, 2002, nos. 75-6). Both are also dated 1760 and while one shows the theatre from the opposite direction, the other is extremely close to the present drawing, differing only in details of staffage. The playbill beside the door in the presnt drawing advertises El Cid, a tragicomedy by Pierre Corneille.
The theatre on the Keizersgracht, one of the most famous canals in Amsterdam, was founded in 1632. It was in this theatre that Ariana Nozeman became the first woman to perform on the Dutch stage, in 1655, and in 1737 the theatre was visited by Vivaldi, who conducted the resident orchestra. Illustrious visitors included the Tsar of Russia, the King of Poland and the Prince of Orange. Vinkeles's watercolour captures the theatre in its final heyday: eleven years later, it was burned to the ground during the performance of a Flemish operetta. The site, which was purchased in 1773 by the Regents of the Roman Catholic Old and Poor People's Office, is now occupied by The Dylan Hotel, whose restaurant is named The Vinkeles, in recognition of the artist's particular connection with the Keizersgracht.
We are grateful to Dr Peter Schatborn for his assistance in preparing this catalogue note.