Willem Koekkoek was born in Amsterdam on 13th January 1839, the son of Hermanus Koekkoek (1815-82), a name synonymous with 19th century Dutch painting. Willem was grandson of Jan Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851) and nephew to Barend Cornelis (1803-1862) Willem Koekkoek was the son of marine painter Hermanus Koekkoek Sr (1815-1882) and the brother of Johannes Hermanus Barend (1840-1912) Koekkoek. Willem was the only one from this famous family of painters that focused on town views. Cornelis Springer certainly was one of his inspirations.
This painting is closely related to a work by Adrianus Eversen (see Pieter Overduin, ‘Adrianus Eversen 1818-1897’, cat 35-7 on page 227) and seems to be a free interpretation of the Oudekerksplein in Amsterdam. Koekkoek would often combine real iconic buildings or locations with a different more fantasised background. In doing so he tried to invoke the romantic idea of the Gouden Eeuw or Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. In this painting he combines the iconic Oude Kerk or Old Church in Amsterdam with a more wider street to the right and a larger façade of buildings to the left. We would like to thank Dr. Peter S. Oud for helping us identiy the location.
Many of Willem Koekkoek’s paintings were sold through his other brother Hermanus Jr, who was an art dealer in London since 1880. The present painting too, has an important English provenance; for almost a century, from 1894, it hung in the magnificent late-Victorian mansion house ‘Stokesay Court’ that was built in 1892 by John Derby-Allcroft in Shropshire. By descent the house and its contents were inherited by grand-daughter Jewell Magnus-Allcroft, who died in 1992.
– Collection Lady Magnus-Allcroft, Stokesay Court, Shropshire, England, where it hung in the billiards room from the end of the 19th century until 1994;
– With Simonis & Buunk, Ede by 1997;
– From whom acquired by the present owner, a private Dutch collector, in 1997.
– Kleef, Museum Haus B.C. Koekkoek, ‘Die Malerfamilie Koekkoek’, Feb. – Oct. 1996