Photo: Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed

Tomb of William of Orange

Hendrick de Keyser, 1614 — 1623
New Church, Delft

Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621) was the most important and inventive sculptor working in early 17th-century Holland, as well as the outstanding architect of Dutch Mannerism. The Tomb of William of Orange in the New Church in Delft is De Keyser’s greatest achievement and best-known work. It is the finest funerary monument created in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century, and proved to have international significance. A prestigious commission from the States General in 1614, the tomb was completed two years after Hendrick’s death, by his son Pieter. Inspired by recent French and English royal monuments, De Keyser represents William as a Protestant, Republican and military hero, the Pater patriae and icon of the Orange dynasty. The tomb impresses for its choice use of colourful marbles in the imposing and crisply carved temple-form canopy, for the iconographical innovations of the recumbent effigy and the corner figures symbolising republican virtues, and for the brilliance of the representations in bronze of William as a triumphant general and of Fame leaping into flight.

Robert Wenley, Head of Collections, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, UK

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Hundreds of photos from during the restoration

in 1996

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Brief biography of William of Orange

on the website of the church

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Terracotta model for the marble statue

On view at the Rijksmuseum

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