When I was asked to take on the monumental assignment of photographing the Oranjezaal in Paleis Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, I was extremely honoured. The paintings were photographed individually in conjunction with the restoration of the hall in 2000; much later I also photographed the entire room.
These photographs are illustrative of the change from analogue photography on 8 X 10 inch colour sheet film to digital photography with all its new possibilities to manipulate and enhance the image. I consider the difficulties of photographing the large paintings and the polygonal hall to be one of the greatest technical challenges I’ve ever faced.
The interior of the Orange Hall is one of the most important artworks of the Dutch Golden Age. It was created in the period 1648-1651 in memory of Stadholder Frederik Hendrik. Jacob van Campen and Contantijn Huygens—in close consultation with Frederik Hendrik’s widow, Amalia van Solms—selected the painters from artists considered the major figures of that era. If you’d like more information and documentation, see the website of the Royal House of the Netherlands.
Below you first see an image of the East Wall followed by six paintings in the nave, left to right: Frederik Hendriks Steadfastness (2 x 3 m) and Part of the Triumphal Procession, Amalia with Her Daughters Observing the Victory (2 x 3.8 m) by Gerard van Honthorst; Frederik Hendrik in Triumph (7.5 x 7.5 m) by Jacob Jordaens; Frederik Hendrik in Battle Commanding the Waters (2 x 3 m) most likely by Jacob van Campen; and Allegory on Time (2 x 3.8 m) again by Jacob Jordaens. Next a photograph of the South Wall and lastly a detail of dancing children from Gerard van Honthorst’s central painting, Allegory on the Marriage of Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms (7.5 x 3 m).