Library Discovers Exceptional Watercolour by Pieter Withoos

Published on
June 1, 2008

In preparing the highlights exhibition for the new Forum Library's opening conference 'Rethinking the Library', curator Liesbeth Missel discovered a watercolour by Pieter Withoos (1654-1692). The botanical illustration turns out to be part of Konstboeck of Simon Schijnvoet (The Art Book of Simon Schijnvoet), a collection of loose watercolours and gouaches that the Library owns. Pieter is a brother of Alida Withoos of whom the library owns six original drawings and a reproduction. The Withoos watercolours show the important role Holland played in world trade, science and art during the Golden Age of the seventeenth century. To illustrate this story, the library has made a virtual exhibition on Alida Withoos'network, which included Maria Sybilla Merian and several other well known artists, wealthy silk merchants and directors of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) with private naturalia collections, garden estates and international contacts. Pieter Withoos was also part of this scene. He specialized in birds, butterflies and other insects. He is also known for having made two drawings of a white dodo. His works were sought after by members of the local VOC chamber in Hoorn were he lived and later in Amsterdam.

(newsletter 1-2008)