The present case bears the name and arms of Anna Geertruida Hommel, together with the date and location of her birth. It is one of the most beautiful cases made in the former colonies during the 18th Century. Based on the inscription on the cover we can safely assume that the case was made in Batavia around 1752. But the case is not only interesting because of its great beauty, it is also known when and along which route the case was brought to The Netherlands.
Anna Geertruida was the eldest daughter of Willem August Hommel (1723-1767) from Krempe, Holstein (Germany). In 1750 Willem August went to the Dutch East-Indies as the supreme surgeon of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) aboard the ship called cleverskerk. In 1752 he became surgeon of Batavia.
Presumably early in 1752 Willem August married Anna Magdalena Knikman (?-1758). They got four daughters, of which the latter three died at a young age. Anna Geertruida was the only child that lived to repatriate with her father to Cape Town in 1767/8 aboard the ship Comps Welvaren (The Company's Prosperity). Willem August died during the trip on November 12th 1767, one day before his daughter's fifteenth birthday. Anna Geertruida reached Cape Town, where on the 14th of February 1768 she married Laurens Spengler (1741-1811), rear admiral and mayor of Cuijk and St. Agatha (The Netherlands). Together they repatriated to the Netherlands and settled in House Overhagen in Cuijk, the Spengler's residence. Here Anna Geertruida died in 1806.
On the 29th of November 1994 an identical case was sold in these rooms. It was made for Anna Geertruida's sister Johanna Wilhelmina (1757-1763). Depending on the dates of birth and death of the other two sisters possibly two more cases were manufactured.
For comparative literature:
Nederlandsche Leeuw, 1907, p. 134.
Nederlandsche Leeuw, 1952, p. 352.
Nederlandsche Leeuw, 1979, p. 57.
Nederland's Patriciaat 39, 1953, p. 266.
C.G. de Villier and C. Pama, Genealogies of old South African families, Cape Town-Amsterdam, 1966, p. 913.