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Gerrit Lamberts (Amsterdam 1776-1850)

Hamershofje on the Herengracht, Amsterdam

numbered ‘126/ 125/ 124/ 123/ 122’
black chalk, grey wash, graphite framing lines
20.5 x 25.9 cm

Private collection, The Netherlands.
Lamberts’ incredibly rich and varied drawn œuvre transports us to the Amsterdam of the late 18th- and 19th century. Besides its grand canals, landmark buildings and churches, the artist also made many drawings showing more humble subjects such as interior scenes, alleyways, ruins and buildings that are being torn down. Lamberts did not receive a formal training as an artist and in his own biography, which is now kept in the Rijksmuseum, Lamberts remarked ‘[...] al in mijn kindsche jaaren bekladde ik al het papier en boeken die ik vinden kon’ [1] (already as a child I drew on whatever paper or book I could find). He followed the footsteps of his father whose paper- and bookshop he took over at a young age [2] and it was only later in life, at the age of 34, that the artist received drawing lessons from Daniel Kerkhoff (1766-1821). [3] Like Kerkhoff, Lamberts specialised in drawn topographical views in and around Amsterdam which were sought after by collectors.

In the present drawing, Lamberts has depicted the Hamershofje on the Herengracht (numbers 373-375) which was demolished in 1880. It was built in 1590 and consisted of four houses and maisonettes housing 30 Roman-Catholic women. Two further drawings by Lamberts showing the Hamershofje, both in the Stadsarchief, Amsterdam [4], and each executed in 1817 (giving a possible date of execution for the present drawing) are known. The three drawings combined give a full view of the Hamershofje.
The verso of this sheet shows a faint linear design for the balcony the concert hall at Felix Meritis society in Amsterdam. Two worked out watercolour by Lamberts, both from 1824 and now in the Stadsarchief, Amsterdam, show the concert hall in full with the proposed balcony. [5]

[1] Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; inv. RP-D-2017-851.
[2] M. Ram, in 'Kabinet der Heerlijkste Teekenwerken', exhib. cat., Brussels, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, 2019, p. 210.
[3] P.A. Scheen, 'Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars. 1750-1880', The Hague, 1981, p. 301. 4 image nos. 010097001493 and 010097001492.
[5] image nos. 010097015278 and 010097015279.

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