Thursday, January 25, 2007


General view of the beautiful park of Sorgvliet [Zorgvliet] by Johannes Aveele

House seen from the park

Terrace No. 11, on both sides and with long and square green hedges

The Beautiful Grotto

The grotto with its cascades seen from the side

The large vivarium with the green berceaux

The parterres of the flower garden

The very artful gotto with its cascades and fountains

Large Mount Parnassus

Large vivarium for foreign and local birds

One of the most beautiful views of the parterre of the park of Sorgvliet [Zorgvliet]


Fountain in the latticework gate [next to the parterre garden]

General view of the orangerie

Green Berceaux[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.


Aeron said...

Very inspiring! I really admire the spaces in these, each one is like a puzzle you have to work through with your eyes, strange.

Aeron said...

Ok, I've been doing some extensive browsing through the first link you posted and I'm in awe at the fantastic landscapes shown in these greatly detailed drawings. Once I construct a selection of some of my favorite works (got a bunch of screenshots that I need to piece together now) I'll be doing a post at Monster Brains on it. Thanks for the links to these amazingly weird garden environments.

Unknown said...

This is the most beautiful blog I have ever seen, thank you so much!!

Jesús S. said...

Image nº 8 -"Large Mount Parnassus"- really impresses me. It's hard to accept it represents an actual setting...

Thank you for these beautiful images!

peacay said...


'Parnassus' was the first image I found a couple of weeks ago: it was the reason I went back for more -- because it looked so wonderfully odd.

W. Stauffer said...

How fascinating, Mt. Parnassus in The Hague. So, is this documentary evidence that indeed this estate had a Mt. Parnassus built on it? And is there any description of this in the literature of the day? If it existed, it surely must have been a much talked about marvel?

peacay said...

W. Stauffer, a recent post with another famed Dutch garden also features a Mt. Parnassus
Pleasure Garden

Apparently it was the 'thing' to do. I must have read that somewhere online but I don't recall where I saw it; most likely in links tabled in that Pleasure Gardens post I should think. But "parnassus baroque dutch gardens" might turn up some commentary.

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