Alida Withoos' drawings on view in Museum Flehite

Published on
January 13, 2022

Alida Withoos was one of the best Dutch female painters in the seventeenth century. Special Collections is contributing some of Withoos' botanical watercolours to the exhibition 'A Different Light on Withoos' at Museum Flehite in Amersfoort.

Exhibition A Different Light on Withoos

Museum Flehite in Amersfoort is organizing a large retrospective exhibition of Mathias Withoos, a seventeenth-century painter from Amersfoort. Withoos is famous for his panoramic townviews and detailed still life paintings. The exhibition contains 90 works, including paintings from Mathias' children: Johannes, Pieter, Alida and Frans. WUR Special Collections is contributing watercolours from Alida Withoos, and one of her brother Pieter, to the exhibition.

The exhibition, A Different Light on Withoos, can be seen in Museum Flehite until 8 May 2022. It will reopen after the corona measures have been suspended.

The exhibition is accompanied by an impressive catalogue on three generations of Withoos. The catalogue, 'Ander licht op Withoos: Drie generaties Withoos', is on view at the Special Collections department of WUR. It is published by Albert Boersma.

Alida Withoos and the Konstboeck of Simon Schynvoet

The works from Alida Withoos from WUR Special Collections that are currently on loan to the exhibition in Museum Flehite are part of 'The Konstboeck of Simon Schynvoet'.

Simon Schynvoet, an amateur garden designer and art collector in the Golden Age, collected botanical drawings from Dutch painters. Schynvoet's 'Konstboeck' contains 142 unique illustrations. The drawings come from Alida Withoos, Pieter Withoos, Catharina Lintheimer, Johannes Bronckhorst and Pieter Holsteijn and date from approx. 1690-1750. Six of the most striking watercolours are from Alida Withoos, for example, her Rosa gallica 'versicolor' or French Rose.

In the seventeenth century women were not strongly encouraged to paint. Thanks to her father Mathias Withoos, Alida could develop her talents. Like her brothers and sisters, she specialised in painting still lifes and representations of nature, animals, and insects.

Liesbeth Missel, the former curator of WUR's Special Collections contributed to Alida Withoos' fame with an exhibition and a chapter in the book 1001 Vrouwen in de geschiedenis. A part of this chapter is published online.

Examples from the Konstboeck

Solanum lycopersicum L.
Solanum lycopersicum L.
Rosa gallica L. 'Versicolor'
Rosa gallica L. 'Versicolor'

Copyrights and credits

Alida Withoos' watercolours can be downloaded for free from the WUR Image Collections. If you want to re-use an image in a publication or on a website, please send an email to Special Collections.