Chester Decorative & Fine Arts Society

A Member Society of NADFAS

Golden Age of Holland

Study Day November 8th 2010

On Tuesday November 8th aficionados of Dutch art met to learn more from our guest speaker, Shirley Turner. The period to be covered was the Golden Age of Holland which, we were told, lasted approximately 70 years during the 17th century. We were shown many illustrations of the fascinating social background through the interiors depicted in the paintings. Dutch society was thriving via the merchant classes whose mastery of the seas brought wealth to Holland, giving rise to the phrase “God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland” and many amusing anecdotes about the painters and their historical context extended our understanding

The first part of our day concentrated on Rembrandt who was responsible not merely for 60 self portraits but also for introducing a new way of painting group portraits which was less formal in style and was the precursor of what we now term ‘genre painting’ for which Dutch artists are rightly renowned and traced links between England and Holland with the Dutch artists dominating in both countries.

We moved on to Delft for the next session when we admired ‘porcelain’ items which we learnt were actually tin glazed earthenware in the familiar blue and white patterns. We also saw examples of lesser known artists alongside the more popular Jan Vermeer.

At the beginning of the afternoon session, whilst a valiant battle was fought (and won) with the temperamental slide projector, Brian Crossley, one of our own members, gave an impromptu history of his interest in all things cane, (which was introduced from the Far East), but the restoration of cane chairs in particular. The final part of the day covered many examples of both art and furniture (including Ham House) now in the UK. Our thanks for a most interesting day.

Margaret Bellis & Margery Mellor