1566 - in sublime Poortvliet images.
One of my favorite illustrated books is "De tresoor" by Rien Poortvliet (1932 - 1995).
A tresoor is an old type of cupboard, an expensive piece of furniture a couple hundred years ago.
The story is set in 1566, a crucial year in Dutch history. With events that were the prelude of the destruction of the United Netherlands, resulting in the separation between the north (Holland) and the south (Belgium).
As always with Poortvliet the images tell the story, and daily life is portrayed in great detail. Admirable images, because they're clearly the result of thorough research.
Captions are of course in Dutch, but following the story line should be no problem at all. Anyway, it's all about enjoying the wealth and atmosphere of the illustrations.
"De tresoor" is still available, for example online at
De tresoor van Jacob Jansz. - Rien Poortvliet (1991) ISBN 90-242-7171-1
A few sample pages of "De tresoor" :
Caption: People are scared to death of winter.
"There's no place like home", but how on earth keeping it warm ?
A faggot of firewood costs 12 pennies (a half week's wage).
Many poor people freeze to death on the countryside, or are found under the ice after winter.
As there are hardly any pockets in clothes everybody wears belts to attach all sorts of things.
The streets are generally a mess, everybody throwing out whatever they want to get rid of. The content of the piss-pot, kitchen waste, broken dinnerware. Shit of horses, chicken and pigs.
After a couple of rainy days, decent walking is hardly possible through the stinking slops.
Special wooden shoes for in the mud or for winter.
To prevent fast wearing out of shoes people use sort of wooden overshoes.
But whenever possible, people on the countryside and children walk barefoot.
The hair style is solid plaiting, generally with the help of a sister or friend..
Often a ribbon is braid through the bun.
Then a tight bonnet, covered by a headscarf made of fine linen.
Source of images: De tresoor van Jacob Jansz. - Rien Poortvliet (1991)
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