Andries Warmoes’ painted room in the Hofkeshuis, Almelo

An intact grisaille painted room of the eighteenth century under critical threat.

An impressive painted room dating to the late eighteenth century can be found in the Hofkeshuis in Almelo. The room contains a wall-covering imitation relief painted by the decorative painter Andries Warmoes (signed 1778). The original stucco ceiling and chimney breasts are also still present, as are the original paneling, door, shutters and mantle. The woodwork and stucco are currently entirely overpainted, and the view of the mantle and part of the paneling is obstructed by a modern paneling.

Warmoes’ painting depicts a joyous entry of the Roman consul Quintus Fabius Maximum, and is a careful, though much enlarged, copy after the only several decimeter-high marble relief that Artus Quellinus chiseled on the chimney frieze of the burgomaster’s chamber in the recently inaugurated Amsterdam town hall. Warmoes painted his entry at the request of the Mennonite cloth manufacturer Egbert Hofkes (1738-1822). The military iconography of the painting is continued in other decorations as well: above the door a painting depicting a Roman general is featured, while the chimney breast is provided with a stucco trophy of arms. The stucco ceiling shows palm, oak and laurel branches in its corners: symbols of military triumph.

These grisaille paintings can be uniquely situated in our national heritage in terms of iconography, style and cultural historical context. But also their material state and qualities are remarkable. The canvases have never been relined, and were never removed from their location. The method of stretching, with nails onto slats attached to the wall, has as such remained intact. The paintings are however under severe threat of tearing and paint loss: the need for a restoration is therefore absolutely urgent.

Material technical research methods as well as architectural paint research provide new insights into the painted room’s original appearance as well as its current condition. This knowledge importantly contributes to both a responsible approach to its restoration as well as its future care. The remarkable military-themed iconography of the decorations is investigated as well. Particularly notable in this regard is the fact that the patron was a member of the Mennonite church, which praised the principle of pacification. Research demonstrates that Hofkes, through the chosen decorations, meant to give a highly original commentary on current political developments.

Research into the Hofkeshuis is conducted in collaboration with the Technical University Eindhoven, Bureau voor kleuronderzoek & restauratie, Restauratie & Onderzoek Historische Interieurs & Exterieurs, Restauratieatelier Enkzicht and Restauratieatelier Stangier.

M. van Eikema Hommes, P. Bakker, ‘A Triumph With No Battle: The Significance of a Painted Wall Hanging (1778) in the Hofkeshuis in Almelo. With an appendix on the life and works of Andries Warmoes (1748-1793)’, in: Oud Holland 2016 nrs. 2/3.

P. Bakker and M. van Eikema Hommes, “The Coarse Painter and His Position in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Dutch Decorative Painting”in: H. Evans and K. Muir (eds.), Technology & practice: studying 18th-century paintings & p art on Paper. (Postprints of the conference Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (CATS), Copenhagen, 2-3 juni 2014, Copenhagen 2015, pp. 70-81.

M. van Eikema Hommes and P. Bakker, “Romeinse zegetocht in Almelo bedreigd”, in: Tijdschrift van de Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, 2014 no. 2, pp. 26-28.

M. van Eikema Hommes, K. Keune, P. Bakker, I. Verslype, “The Triumphant procession (1778) of Andries Warmoes in the Hofkeshuis”, in: A. Wallert (ed.), Painting Techniques, postprints of the conference, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum September 2014 (publication date 2016).

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