After the triumph over Napoleon in 1815, Holland regained government over her former colony, the East-Indies. Professor Georg Carl Reinwardt was asked by the Dutch Government to lead a scientific expedition to Java. In 1817 Reinwardt and his group of artists and scientific researchers arrived in Java. They immediately started their research into Java and its inhabitants by collecting samples of plants, flowers and minerals. Reinwardt then designed the Botanical Gardens of Buitenzorg (Bogor).
The first expedition included the draughtsmen A.S., and J.T. Bik and the Belgian painter A.A.J. Payen. In 1820 Reinwardt was replaced by the so-called 'Natuurkundige Commissie' that stayed into operation until 1850. The new committee continued to explore Java and also travelled through Sumatrea and Borneo with the same goal of gathering scientific and topographical material, brought together in portfolios called 'Verhandelingen'. One of the members of this committee was the Utrecht artist Pieter van Oort (1804-1834). Van Oort was a pupil of his father, the townscape painter Hendrik van Oort. Pieter mainly executed landscapes. In 1826 he arrived in Indonesia and travelled to New Guinea, Timor, Sumatra and Java. His drawings were lithographed after his death for 'Verhandelingen over de Natuurlijke Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Overzeesche Bezetting' by C.J. Temminck, in the period 1839-1847. Pieter van Oort died prematurely in Indonesia at the age of 30 due to ill health.