Rare engraving of the city of Amsterdam depicting the coat-of-arms of the city’s burgomasters during the years spanning the Dutch Golden Age.
The present rare work is the armorial plate of the city of Amsterdam comprising the names of its one-hundred-and-sixty citizens who served as burgomasters from 1578 to 1775.
In this finely engraved and hand-coloured plate, the city of Amsterdam pays homage to its most prominent citizens as architects and guarantors of its prosperity both on land and on sea (personified to the left and the right of Amsterdam). Amsterdam itself is accompanied by the cartouche inscribed “conservat utramque” (“she preserves both [land and sea]”) and personified at the top of the armorial plate, as well as further represented by both its coat of arms on the right and its seal on the left.
Each name listed on the plate testifies to the brilliance of Amsterdam’s cultural and political landscape during the Dutch Golden Age.
The first coat of arms marks the momentous transition from Catholicism to Protestantism in Amsterdam, the most important trade center in Holland. The coat is that of Willem Bardesius and dates 1578. In May 1578 Bardesius led a bloodless coup, known as the Alteratie, in which Amsterdam joined the Protestant revolt and removed its Catholic civic council. The latter was replaced by a majority of Calvinist councillors and its first Protestant burgomaster, Willem Bardesius himself.
The recurring presence of various coats of arms in this plate testifies to the prominence of specific family dynasties that emerged during the seventeenth century and stood at the centre of the intellectual life of the city. Examples of these are the coats related to the Huydecoper, Hinlopen, Trip, Hooft, Hasselaer, Tulp and Six families. Mostly merchant families that made their fortune through trade, they frequently entertained relations with illustrious personalities at home and abroad, such as Marie de Medici, Queen of France, and Rembrandt van Rijn, the acclaimed Dutch artist.
The coats of arms on this plate tell the story of Amsterdam’s continuous prosperity through the individuals that made its name. It stands as a testament to the rich Dutch past of the city and as an exemplum for its future generations.
The plate belongs to the collection of the late Gustav Leonhardt. One of the greatest musical scholars and organ performers of the 20th century as well as a talented pianist, Leonhardt promoted primarily the study of harpsicord throughout his life as a professor at the Academy of Music in Vienna and later at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Central to Leonhardt’s scholarship and performance pieces is Bach’s oeuvre and the culture of the Baroque period. Leonhardt’s fascination for this intellectually vibrant moment in the history of Northern Europe is certainly reflected in the selection of the present work for his private collection.
Some distinguished families mentioned on the plate:
Willem Bardesius (1578):
Willem Bardesius (Coat 1) was the chief organiser of the historic bloodless coup of May 1578, known as the Alteratie, which aligned Amsterdam with the rest of Holland in the Protestant revolt. With the Alteratie, the city government, historically Catholic, became primarily Calvinist with a minority of Catholic councillors serving in it (only 10 out of the new 36 councillors). With the coup, Willem Bardesius was elected city councillor and, together with Maarten Janszoon Coster (Coat 2), Reynier Cant (Coat 8) and Pieter Boom Corneliszoon (Coat 12) was one of the men who served the most in this public role during the decades following the Alteratie.
Joan Huydecoper (1651)
Joan (Jan) Huydecoper (1673)
Jan Elias Huydecoper (1739)
Jan Huydecoper (1749):
The political and commercial Huydecoper dynasty, synonymous with the prosperity of Amsterdam’s Golden Age, is also represented here by several of its members. The eldest Joan Huydecoper (1599-1661) was the first in his family to become seriously involved with the city’s political life. Huydecoper the elder served as city councillor once and six times as Mayor of Amsterdam. His political career progressed alongside his commercial successes in real estate and his interest in the arts. Huydecoper is remembered as the first man to have bought a painting by Rembrandt and is also portrayed in a civic guard portrait by the celebrated dutch artist Govert Flinck. This portrait is housed in the Amsterdams Historisch Museum.
Jacob Jacobszoon Hinlopen:
Nephew of Jan Jac. Hinlopen (1626-1666), the famous cloth merchant and art collector who patronised Rembrandt and his contemporary Gabriel Metsu.
A portrait of the Hinlopen family by Metsu today hangs in the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin. The later Jan Jacobszoon (1644-1705), mentioned among the prominent citizens of Amsterdam, is remembered more specifically for being the owner of Rembrandt’s Christ in the storm on the lake, one of the artist’s most accomplished masterpieces. Jan Jac. Hinlopen’s father, himself an avid art collector, had been directly involved with the posthumous selling of Rembrandt’s possessions.
Louys Trip (and descendants):
Also prominently represented on the shield, the Trip family owed its success to trade and, having distinguished itself both financially and politically in the course of the 17th and 18th century, ascended to nobility in the early 19th century. The family is mostly remember for owning a palatial townhouse which later became the seat of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The first member to receive mention on the plate is Louys Trip, whose portrait as a young man by Ferdinand Bol is celebrated to this day. Louys Trip’s father, though not present on the plate, also reached his fame in posterity as the sitter for Rembrandt’s well-known “Portrait of Jacob Trip”.
Pieter Hasselaer (1635):
Prominent citizen of Amsterdam and one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company. During his lifetime he sailed across the globe and entertained relationships with many rulers in Europe, including Marie de Medici, Queen of France. His sons were equally prominent members of the community, with his son Pieter Pietersz serving 8 times as mayor of Amsterdam and his son Nicolaesz becoming captain-major of the civic guards.
Nicolaes Tulp (1654):
Nicolaes Tulp medical doctor and one time mayor of Amsterdam features on the plate. Remembered among his fellow citizens as an outstanding member of the community, he has survived into posterity thanks to Rembrandt’s celebrated painting: “The anatomy lesson of Doctor Nicolaes Tulp”, considered one of the artists most accomplished masterpieces.
Jan Six (1691):
His son-in-law, Jan Six, also receives mention on the plate. Active in the political life of the city as both a magistrate and a civic councillor, his name survives to this day mainly in association with the Six Collection, one of the most refined selections of works of art from the Dutch Golden Age, which included, among its crowning jewels, Vermeer’s masterpiece “The milkmaid” now held at the Rijksmuseum.
Large hand-coloured engraving depicting a coat-of-arms of prominent citizens of Amsterdam, inscribed with the motto ‘CONSERVAT UTRAMQUE ‘, late 18th century, published by Johannes Slutyter, framed (129.5 x 96 cm).
Provenance: Gustav Leonhardt (celebrated musician, 1928-2012).
Stock ID: 90373