White Rose Fine Art is based in one of the best preserved eighteenth-century Dutch canal houses anywhere in The Netherlands. Located in the picturesque town of Gouda, along its most ancient canal, the Haven, dug in the middle of the thirteenth century, the house has been named “De Roos” (The Rose) since at least the seventeenth century. The house was given its present shape around 1740 in a late Louis XIV style by its then occupant Melchior Sebastiaan van den Kerckhoven (1691-1761). As well as having survived almost completely intact, a rarity in itself, it features one of the longest stuccoed hallways in The Netherlands, graced with representations of the Five Senses, as well as a spectacular stuccoed staircase hall with original carved banisters.
The Kerckhovens were one of the leading patrician families of Gouda; interestingly not only their home has remained almost perfectly preserved, but also the Kerckhoven collection of family portraits has survived intact, now part of the collections of the Historical Museum in The Hague. Originally these precious works would have hung in Huis De Roos, including a famous group portrait of the Kerckhoven family by society portraitist Jan Mijtens, his masterpiece and arguably one of the most iconic Dutch family portraits ever made.
White Rose Fine Art’s paintings are presented in the historic interiors of the house’s main floor, notably in the Red Salon overlooking the canal, overseen by a spectacular stuccoed ceiling of c.1740, representing the Goddess Primavera, and in the Blue Dining Room, with its rare survival of an original carved buffet cupboard, again dating from the same period. In recent years the whole house has been meticulously restored and decorated according to eighteenth-century taste, complete with silk-upholstered walls and furnished with period furniture and decorative arts.
The restored house offers an experience almost unique in the world, where Dutch Old Master paintings are presented in interior settings similar to those for which they were originally made. Although the main rooms showcase paintings which are for sale, the house is private and lived in, only opened by appointment, which adds to the unique sensation of experiencing great paintings from the Golden and Silver Ages in surroundings for which there were intended.
Although its cheese and “stroopwafels” are known and loved all over the world, the magical town of Gouda itself is one of Holland’s best kept secrets. It boasts the longest and arguably most beautiful church in The Netherlands, the Sint Jan, whose sixteenth-century stained windows are incomparable. The c.1450 Gothic Town Hall is the best preserved Gothic secular building in the country, with spectacular seventeenth-century interiors. The fascinating local museum, also on the Oosthaven canal, houses a rare collection of pre-Reformation altarpieces, and the unique Bisdom van Vliet family house museum in the village of Haastrecht, three miles from Gouda, is likewise well worth a visit. Gouda is situated a twenty minute drive from Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague and only forty-five minutes from Schiphol Airport. We would be honoured to welcome you!
Photography: Mark Luscombe-Whyte for Cabana Magazine, 2021