[click images for enlarged versions]
An estate at Sorghvliet, near The Hague in South Holland, was established in 1651 by the politician and eminent poet, Jacob Cats. Known as Catshuis, the original building was first expanded by Hans Willem Bentinck after Cats' death in 1660. There have been additional episodic refurbishments of the house, particularly in the recent past, which has served as the residence of the Prime Minister of The Netherlands since 1963.
Perhaps of greater interest than the house itself, especially in the hand coloured engravings above, are the surrounding baroque gardens, said to have been modelled after the parklands at Versailles. None of these decorative elements - the coiffed hedgerows, fountains, fishponds and topiaries, which I'm guessing time-wise, were a post-Cats addition - have survived. It appears to be all wooded parkland today.
A set of 32 illustrations by Johannes van den Aveele were produced by Amsterdam printer Nicolaus Visscher during the 1690s. The example images above are from a set of 18 prints in an anonymous bound album of Italian, French and Dutch garden pictures, probably assembled in Holland in the 18th century.
- I found these prints among the wonderful Catena Digital Archive of Historic Gardens and Lanscapes - developed by a consortium of American botanical and university bodies. The digital collection employs the LunarInsight browser so turn off any pop-up blockers. Launch the Insightbrowser from the left margin, then: 'search', 'by work creator' and add 'Aveele'.
- Sorghvliet, Bird's-Eye View of Formal Gardens - George Glazer Gallery.
- Satellite view of the estate.
- 'Introduction to Dutch gardens and garden architecture' by Carla S. Oldenburger-Ebbers at the Wageningen Digital Library.
- Panorama views of the Catshuis today.
- A couple of aerial shots of the estate at flickr.
- The house featured between the skeletons in a frontpiece in one of Cats' poetry books.
- Giornale Nuovo on Jacob Cats emblemata series.