Allegory of the Baker's Trade

Johannes Petrus van Horstok Dutch

Not on view

This large drawing by Johannes Petrus van Horstok, an artist active largely in Alkmaar but with connections in both Amsterdam and Haarlem, served as a design for an engraving (in the same orientation) produced in 1808 by the two Haarlem printmakers Izaak de Wit (1744-1809) and Joannes Pieter Visser Bender (1785-1813). A bust of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and wheat, sits atop a marble column surrounded by vignettes showing the different stages of the production of bread, from the cultivation of wheat at upper left to the commercial activity of a bakery at center. Three winged putti hold aloft this central, framed scene, while a fourth in a baker’s cap holds a basket of bread and blows a horn. At lower left are the various tools of the trade. At right, a chicken eats some grains lying on the ground.

This image was probably engraved for the members of the Haarlem bakers’ guild, whose shop on Jacobijnestraat has been identified as the subject of the central scene.[1] The few known impressions of the print each show on the bag of wheat at lower left a different handwritten monogram. In a hand-colored impression in the Noord-Hollands Archief (inv. NL-HlmNHA_53001403_M), the central vignette is replaced with a representation in watercolor of a different bakery, identified on the basis of the monogram as J.W. Worst’s bakery on Haarlem’s Jansstraat.

Although a print design, the present drawing, complete with Van Horstok’s signature and the elegantly written caption (slightly different from that on the print), exhibits such a high degree of finish that it was very plausibly also intended as a work of art in its own right.

(JSS, 8/23/2018)

[1] J.A.G. van der Steur, Oude gebouwen in Haarlem (Haarlem: Erven F. Bohm, 1907), p. 44, no. 160.

Allegory of the Baker's Trade, Johannes Petrus van Horstok (Dutch, Overveen near Haarlem 1745–1825 Haarlem), Pen and brush and gray wash, over graphite or black chalk

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