22 May 2008
Dutch School, late 18th Century
The cabinet of curiosities of Catharina Sirtema van Grovestins, The Hague
pen and grey and brown ink, grey wash
18¼ x 23 7/8 in. (46.3 x 60.6 cm.)
Dr. C.A. Pompe.
L. Houthakker, his mark (not in Lugt).
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P. Fuhring, Design into Art: drawings for architecture and ornament, the Lodewijk Houthakker Collection, London, 1989, II, p. 761, no. 1102
This drawing bears the arms of Catharina van Grovestins-Sinolt von Schutz and shows the interior of her cabinet of curiosities in the family house in The Hague. Another drawing of the cabinet by the artist Daniel Marot the Younger (1695-1769), dated 1756, shows the interior without the central table and coral and shells above the fireplace. The first curiosity cabinets were assembled in the 16th Century as an expression of the rapidly expanding horizons of knowledge of the time. They were the precursor to today's museums, the most famous in England being the collection of Elias Ashmole (1617-1692). His private collection, founded by the naturalist John Tradescant (circa 1570-1638) was presented to Oxford University and opened to the public on 24 May 1683 as the Ashmolean Museum.
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