This magnificent verre églomisé, engraved in gold and silver, represents a tantalising new addition to the oeuvre of Jonas Zeuner. Born in Kassel, Zeuner arrived in Amsterdam around 1750, although his first known work dates from circa 1770. His oeuvre consists mainly of views of Amsterdam and other towns, country houses and landscapes, but even portraits and battle scenes. These are generally based on drawings and engravings of contemporary artists such as Jan de Beyer (1703-1780) and Wiebrand Hendriks (1744-1831).
The present verre églomisé depicts the garden of Keizersgracht LL nr. 225, a mansion owned by the wealthy merchant J. de Groot during the last decades of the 18th Century. It is a fantasised view of the canal house as the neighbouring buildings have been omitted, giving the impression of an aristocratic country seat with extensive formal gardens. The house and art collection were inherited by de Groot's only daughter and son-in-law. The latter adopted that name and subsequently became known as D.C. de Groot Jamin. The Keizersgracht mansion remained in the family until 1878. From 1879 it housed the Burgerziekenhuis (hospital) and offices until it was demolished in 1896. It is unclear when the verre églomisé by Zeuner was sold. It was still owned by J.G. de Groot Jamin Jr. when it was exhibited at the Historische tentoonstelling Amsterdam 1876.
The Chicago industrialist Robert Hall McCormick II, president of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and grandson of Robert McCormick, the founder of the 'McCormick reaper', was educated at the University of Chicago and joined the family company in the early 1870s. He married Sarah Lord Day in 1871 and with her travelled extensively through Europe. A passionate collector, he made several important puchases of British Art at the London sales around the turn of the Century and at celebrated dealers, some of which are now in The Chicago Art Institute. How he purchased the verre églomisé by Zeuner is sadly unknown, but it may have been through the intermediary of one of these dealers, who were known to visit the Netherlands as a hunting ground for their art purchases.