Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


BARTHOLOMEUS JOHANNES VAN HOVE (The Hague 1790 – The Hague 1880)

De Grote Houtpoort, Haarlem

signed on the boat in the lower right B. VAN HOVE

oil on panel

19 1/8 x 26 inches          (48.6 x 66 cm.)


Lady V. Braithwaite

Lady V. Braithwaite, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Paintings and Drawings, Sotheby’s, London, May 17, 1967, lot 90, where bought by

M. Newman, Ltd., London

Frost & Reed Ltd., London

Vixseboxse Art Galleries, Inc., Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Private Collection, Ohio



The Connoisseur, volume 166, September 1967, p. XLIV, in an advertisement for M. Newman, Ltd., London, reproduced

E. Bénézit, “Bartholomeus-Johannes van Hove” in Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, volume 5, Libraire Gründ, Paris, 1976, p. 634



Philippus Velijn, circa 1830


In a large panel, under radiant skies, the old fortifications of Haarlem abut the Spaarne River. The Grote Houtpoort rises majestically in the foreground, dominating the scene with its weathervane reaching to the composition’s edge. The Kalistoren Tower, used for the storage of gunpowder, is in the middle with the Kleine Houtpoort visible in the distance. Built in 1570, the Grote Houtpoort was at the end of the Grote Houtstraat, one of the main roads from the Grote Markt that led outside the city walls. Beyond the gate lay the wooded area, called the Haarlemmerwoud. The temperature is mild, over the arched bridge of the Grote Houtpoort, residents contentedly stroll, conversed or stop to admire the view. Below boatmen propel their craft across glass-like waters with shimmering reflections and floating swans. The sense of well-being pervades this orderly view of the city’s great landmarks that dominate its skyline. Yet, although of paramount importance during the Siege of Haarlem by the Spanish in 1572-1573, by the nineteenth century these fortifications were considered useless and subsequently destroyed. The Grote Houtpoort was torn down in 1824, the Kalistoren Tower in 1858, followed by the Kleine Houtpoort in 1873.[1] In retrospect, the demolition of these sixteenth century monuments is horrifying; yet destruction in the face of perceived innovation is still regarded as inevitable. Thanks to Van Hove’s meticulous architectural rendering of De Grote Houtpoort we forever retain a vision of Haarlem’s glorious past.

Van Hove devoted his career to the continuation of eighteenth century Holland’s passion for topographical paintings characterized by exacting detail and crystalline clarity. As an adherent to the tenets of Romanticism, a movement that lacked a specific style but embraced an attitude that swerved away from reality to embrace dreams, Van Hove spent his life painting idealized cityscapes. Member of an artistic family, he began his training with his father Hubertus, a gilder and frame-maker. Van Hove’s two sons Huib and Johannes and his grandson Bart were all artists. Andreas Schelfhout was a cousin and Antoine Waldorp a brother-in-law. Van Hove first apprenticed with Johannes Henricus Albertus Antonius Breckenheijmer who painted stage sets. By 1812 he was enrolled at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague. Later he succeeded Breckenheijmer at the Koninklijke Schouwburg (The Hague Theater) where he became famous for his scenery, panels of which are preserved in the collection of the Amsterdam Theater Museum. By the late 1820s, Van Hove was a drawing professor at the Haagse Tekenacademie (Hague Drawing Academy).[2] He was regarded as an “outstanding master” as well as an “excellent teacher” and his pupils were among those that “laid the foundations for a genuine Hague School”.[3] His students included his sons Huib and Johannes, as well as Johannes Bosboom, Everhardus Koster, Charles Leickert, Salomon Leonardus Verveer, and Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch among many others. Van Hove was a founding member as well as the first chairman of the Pulchri Studio in The Hague. He also belonged to Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. In 1847 he was awarded the Order of the Oaken Crown. During the course of his career he also received medals from Felix Meritis in Amsterdam and Pictura in Dordrecht. According to the art encyclopedia Champlin & Perkins he was further honored by receiving “costly presents from several potentates”. A bit more defined is the number of museums that acquired his works for their permanent collections. These included institutions in the cities of Amsterdam, Delft, Ghent, Haarlem, The Hague, Hamburg, Leiden, Nijmegen, Otterlo, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.[4]

After the Van Hove emerged from the collection of Lady V. Braithwaite and its subsequent sale by Sotheby’s in London, it was purchased by the venerable firm of M. Newman, Ltd of London. It served as their promotional piece for the 1967 fall season, and was featured in a full-page ad in The Connoisseur. It was next acquired by the important London gallery Frost & Reed Ltd. and then by Vixseboxse Art Galleries, Inc. of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The town was home to such luminaries as John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937).[5] Vixseboxse had opened its doors in 1922, specializing in nineteenth and twentieth century paintings.[6] It is presumed that this is where the last owner bought the Van Hove. Its recording in Emmanuel Bénézit’s biographical dictionary of artists attests to the fact that De Grote Houtpoort, Haarlem is regarded as one of the principal works among Van Hove’s oeuvre.

The Noords-Hollands Archief, Haarlem, owns a print of this work executed by Philippus Velijn titled De Goote Houtpoort te Haarlem, geslecht 1824 (inventory no. 53-000825 K), which they date to circa 1830. They believe our painting to have been executed circa 1820.



[1] “Gerrit Berckheyde, De Grote Houtpoort te Haarlem” in Museum Ridder Smidt van Gelder Catalogus I, Antwerpen, 1980, p. 21; Cynthia Lawrence, Gerrit Berckheyde, Davaco Publishers, Doornspijk, 1991, p. 45.

[2] Biographical information taken from Geraldine Norman, “Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove” in Nineteenth Century Painters and Painting: a Dictionary, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1977, p. 111; John Sillevis, “Romanticism and Realism” in The Hague School, Dutch Masters of the 19th Century, exhibition catalog, Royal Academy of Arts, London, and traveling, 1983, p. 41; “Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove” on website; and “Bartholomeus van Hove" on  (RKD Explore) website.

[3] Ronald de Leeuw, “Introduction” in The Hague School, 1983, op. cit., p. 14.

[4] Biographical information taken from John Denison Champlin, Jr., Charles C. Perkins eds., “Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove” in Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings, volume II, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1900, p. 296; Dr. Ulrich Thieme & Dr. Felix Becker, “Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove” in Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler, volume XVII, Veb E.A. Seeman Verlag, Leipzig, 1924, p. 575; Pieter A. Scheen, “Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove” in Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1880, Uitgeverij Pieter A. Scheen BV, ‘s-Gravenhage, 1981, p. 231; website, op. cit.; and  (RKD Explore) website, op.cit..

[5] Dan Ruminski & Alan Dutka, “The Standard Oil Company: America’s Greatest Monopoly” in Cleveland in the Golden Age, A Stroll Down Millionaire’s Row, The History Press, Charleston, S.C., 2012, unpaginated.

[6] “Vixseboxse Gallery – The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History”, Case Western Reserve University, website.

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