Amsterdam, Houses on the Herengracht

Artist or maker:
Heyden, Jan van der (b.1637, d.1712)
figures by Adriaen van de Velde (b.1636, d.1672)
c 1670-1690
dated stylistically
Place of production:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
oil on panel
Type of object:
Accession number:


Jan Van der Heyden made several paintings of the street in Amsterdam in which he lived from around 1660, the fashionable Herengracht. One of these pictures featured in an inventory taken in 1692. This gives an approximate date for Van der Heyden's interest in this subject.

The Herengracht is a street with typical townhouses sporting distinctive gables next to the calm waters of a Dutch canal. On the left of the painting, there are two very distinctive houses. On the far left, there is Herengracht 170-171, built around 1615 to 1620, probably by a follower of Hendrick de Keyser, as a single residence for the banker Willem de Heuvel (d. 1634). He changed his name to Guillielmo Bartolotti after inheriting from an Italian uncle. This was the largest private residence of the city. It was divided into two residences in the 18th century. The house next door, Herengracht no. 168, was built as a confectioner's workshop. In 1638, the house was refronted by Philip Vingboons for the merchant Michael Pauw, director of the Dutch West Indies Company and knight of the Order of St. Mark, whose coat of arms is carved on the gable. The distinctive shape is reputed to have started the trend for bottle-neck shaped gables. There are similar paintings by van der Heyden in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Cater Collection (no. L.2005.16.8) and the Musée du Louvre, Paris, (RF2340).

In the early 19th century, the figures were attributed to Adriaen van de Velde (d. 1672), an artist who collaborated with Van der Heyden, but they may be by Van der Heyden himself. Whilst van der Heyden was a master at the rendering of the bricks, stonework and foliage of the urban landscape, he was not a confident figure painter and thus collaborated with artists more practiced in this area. The late 17th century was a high-point of such collaborations between specialist artists in the Netherlands.

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
660 x 730 x 75
Signature & date:
not signed or dated
43. Een oud [...] gedeelde van de Heerengracht [...] zien gestoff[rend?] met ondeu[gel?] Vartuigen; het is Zonachtig [...] en zeer [...] oerig
Reverse, sale catalogue label of 1810 (fragment)



Bought by de Vries from Anon sale, Amsterdam, 6 August 1810, no. 43 for 300 florins; acquired by 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice (b.1780, d.1863) of Bowood before 1844, where recorded by Jameson; by descent to 5th Marquess of Lansdowne Henry Fitzmaurice (b.1845, d.1927); bought from the 5th Marquess of Lansdowne by Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd before 14 April 1888; bought from Agnew by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898) for £3465, stock no. 2718 14 April 1888; inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Exhibition history:
Royal Academy Exhibition, London, 1876, no. 217 lent by the 5th Marquess of Lansdowne
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957



Anna Jameson; Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries of Art; London; Saunders and Otley; 1844; p. 320
Gustav Friedrich Waagen; Treasures of Art in Great Britain: being an account of the chief collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures, illuminated mss; 3 vols; London; John Murray; 1854-1857; vol. 3, p. 163
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot; A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Vols 5-8 [1907-1927]; Bishops Stortford; Chadwick Healey; 1976; vol. 8, nos 230 & 30
Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967; pp. 142-143, cat. no. 59
Helga Heikamp-Wagner; Jan van der Heyden 1637-1712; Amsterdam; Scheltema & Holkema; 1971; p. 69, cat. no. 13, p. 129, ill.
Peter Sutton; Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712); Bruce Museum, Greenwich, 16 September 2006 - 10 January 2007; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1 February 2007 - 30 April 2007; New Haven, London; Yale University Press; 2007; p. 144, fig. 1

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