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(b Weesp, Jan 4, 1726; d Amsterdam, Dec 20, 1798).

Dutch timber merchant, collector, printmaker, print publisher, draughtsman and art theorist. He was one of the most important Dutch dilettanti of the 18th century. His interest in art began at an early age, and from the age of 12 he was taught drawing by Norbert van Bloemen (1670–1746). Two years later he began to learn the timber trade with Johannes Bontekoning, in whose firm, Bontekoning and Aukes, he became a partner in 1756. Ploos’s first mezzotint dates from that year. He made drawings throughout his life, in a technically skilled rather than original style, and designed book illustrations. In 1758 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Cornelis Troost.

In the meantime Ploos van Amstel assembled a fabulous collection of drawings (he possessed over 7000 when he died), prints (including many topographical prints of Amsterdam), paintings, sculptures, enamels, medals, coins, scientific instruments and optical tools, and manuscripts and printed books. His special interest in drawings, particularly those by Dutch artists from the 17th and 18th centuries, is reflected in his ...