Teyler’s Foundation in Haarlem and Its ‘Book and Art Room’ of 1779

A Key Moment in the History of a Learned Institution


Teyler’s Foundation in Haarlem and its ‘Book and Art Room’ of 1779, edited by Ellinoor Bergvelt and Debora Meijers, examines for the first time this institution in the context of scientific, museological, political, artistic, religious and philosophical developments. The key moment was the decision in 1779 to give a free interpretation to the testament of its founder, the Mennonite entrepreneur Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702–1778): stimulated by the naturalist Martinus van Marum, the Foundation’s board decided to build an impressive museum room and to establish a natural science collection. The institution thus entered an era in which older scientific and collecting traditions engaged with new developments towards a research institution and a public museum of natural history, physics and art.

Contributors: Ellinoor S. Bergvelt, Terry van Druten, Arnold Heumakers, Eric Jorink, Paul Knolle, Debora Meijers, Wijnand Mijnhardt, Bert Sliggers, Koenraad Vos, and Holger Zaunstöck.

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Ellinoor Bergvelt is Associate Professor Emeritus of Cultural History of Europe, University of Amsterdam, and Guest Researcher at that same university. She is also Research Fellow of Dulwich Picture Gallery (London), and Associate Researcher of the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague). Among the publications she co-edited is De wereld binnen handbereik (‘Distant Worlds made Tangible’; Amsterdam Historical Museum, 1992).

Debora Meijers is Associate Professor Emeritus of Art History, University of Amsterdam, and Guest Researcher at that same university. Since 2006 she has been a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her publications deal with the interface between art and science; among them is The Paper Museum of the Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg, c. 1725–60 (2005).
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction and Background

1 Purpose and Structure of the Book
  Debora J. Meijers and Ellinoor S. Bergvelt

2 Teyler’s Foundation and the Two Societies: Emergence and Development up to c. 1800
  Debora J. Meijers

3 A Museum within the Foundation, 1779–2020
  Debora J. Meijers

Teyler’s as a Case in a Re-reading of the History of Science

4 ‘The World We Have Lost’: In Praise of a Comprehensive Ideal of Science and Scholarship
  Wijnand W. Mijnhardt

5 The First Museum in the Netherlands? The Establishment of Teyler’s Oval Room in Historical Perspective (c. 1600–1800)
  Eric Jorink

6 How to Collect Minerals, Rocks and Fossils for a Museum: The International Networks of Martinus van Marum (1750–1837)
  Bert Sliggers

Teyler’s between the Natural Sciences and the Visual Arts

7 ‘Truth-to-Nature’ in the Museum? Wybrand Hendriks, Martinus van Marum and the ‘Reasoned Image’
  Koenraad Vos

8 An Asset to Art. The Purchase of Italian Old Master Drawings from the Odescalchi Collection in Rome by Teyler’s Foundation in 1790: Motivation, Function, and the Context of Art Theory in the Netherlands
  Paul Knolle

9 Collecting and Displaying Art in Teyler’s Museum, 1778–1885: The Usefulness of Drawings, Prints and Contemporary Paintings, and the Development of Public Access
  Terry van Druten

Teyler’s in an International Perspective

10 Visiting Haarlem: August Hermann Niemeyer, the Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities at the Halle Orphanage, and Teyler’s Museum
  Holger Zaunstöck

11 The Rise of the Modern Romantic Concept of Art and the Art Museum
  Arnold Heumakers

Photo Credits

All interested in the history of learned societies, collections and museums of nature and art, and intellectual life in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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