Hendrik Lot was one of the artists from the circle around B.C. Koekkoek, who belonged to the “Cleves Romantic School”. You may remember we saw a Rhine landscape by him on the ground floor. This painting shows an idyllic meadow outside the gates of Cleves, city of artists. The Abbey Church, a windmill and Castle Schwanenburg make up the skyline. A little apart, on the far left, we see the tall white Belvédère, Koekkoek’s studio tower.
You can see the original if you turn around now and look out of the windows here in the stairwell. Do climb half way up the stairs if you need to.
In 1843, B.C. Koekkoek purchased this piece of ground just outside the medieval city wall. He built his studio house on the foundations of a former guard tower and dubbed it the “Belvédère”. He set up his studio on the top floor, behind the north-facing window with its stucco decoration. Above it is the roof terrace, which still exists and offers a view across the Rhine and far beyond the Dutch border.
The lantern is topped by a statue of Minerva – goddess of art and patroness of wisdom.
Down on the lower ground floor, Koekkoek had his own colour lab and even a stable for a donkey. The animal helped to carry his painting utensils to the sites where he worked on studies in the open air.
A few more years went by before the dwelling house, where you are now, was built in 1848. From then on, Koekkoek’s commute to work was enjoyably brief. He could move back and forth between house and studio at will, and only had to cross the garden to do so. The brickwork terrace has survived, though the trees were planted in the last century. However, we can assume that the garden layout is roughly similar to the design in Koekkoek’s day. Just a few more years, and the view will once again include a poplar in front of the Belvédère – a new one was planted in 2020.
Now, as you make your way back down the stairs, please turn right before you reach the painting by Hendrik Lot. We’ll be introducing two more of B.C. Koekkoek’s students in the next room.