Painted curtains again, in Assen

The paintings of hanging curtains, Statenzaal, Drents Muzseum, Assen, The Netherlands (photograph Willem Vogelsang)

The paintings of hanging curtains, Statenzaal, Drents Muzseum, Assen, The Netherlands (photograph Willem Vogelsang)

Late December 2015, I wrote a blog about the paintings of curtains in various ancient monuments in Rome, including the Temple of Romulus at the Forum Romanum, in the Sistine Chapel and in the Santa Maria Maggiore (click here). In the summer of 2016 I saw similarly curtains being painted on a wall in the Chapel of St Gabriel, in Canterbury Cathedral. Last Sunday I saw painted curtains again, but this time at a very unexpected place, namely the beautiful Drents Museum in Assen, capital of the Dutch province of Drenthe.

Painting of curtain, Drents Museum, Assen.

Painting of curtain, Drents Museum, Assen.

On 25th March, the Museum opened a photo exhibition of Dutch military in Kabul, and I had been asked to give a talk about Afghanistan. The Museum is housed in the former Provinciehuis ('Provincial House'). When I was shown the room for the lecture, I was absolutely amazed. It was the so-called Statenzaal, the room where in the past the Staten ('Estates') of Drenthe would meet. This council constitutes the legislative body for the administration of the province.

The room dates to the late nineteenth century and is lavishly decorated, among others with paintings by the Austrian painter Georg Strum. They show the history of the province, from prehistory to the nineteenth century. The building, and its Statenzaal, were designed by Jacobus van Lokhorst, and the actual building was started in 1882. The decorations of the Statenzaal date to this period.

But what attracted my attention in particular were the paintings of curtains, so reminiscent of what I had seen in Rome two years ago. I attach a photograph of the room and one of its walls, decorated with the panels with the painted curtains.

Willem Vogelsang, Saturday 31th March 2018

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The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
 
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