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date: 19 August 2019

Hofwijcklocked

  • K. A. Ottenheym

Extract

Country house at Voorburg, The Hague. In 1639 Constantijn Huygens (i), poet, scholar and secretary to Frederick Henry, Stadholder of the Netherlands, purchased a plot just outside Voorburg with the intention of building a secluded country house. He named the house Hofwijck, which means ‘far from the court’. Huygens probably designed both the house and its gardens (destr.) himself in 1639–42, in collaboration with the architects Pieter Post and Jacob van Campen. The house is built of brick; its cubic form and pyramidal roof typify the simplicity of Post’s oeuvre. The façades have no explicitly classical features; they are decorated only with trompe-l’oeil paintings of statues between the windows, which are arranged in three rows, one above the other. Huygens’s poem about the house, Vitauliam: Hofwijck, provides the most complete description of the house and an explanation of its symbolism. The overall plan of the house and gardens was intended to symbolize the human form, with the house itself representing the head and the gardens the body....

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