The exhibitions are about two well-known former residents of the palace: Princess Maria Louise of Oranje-Nassau, and M.C. Escher
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The Keramiekmuseum Princessehof is one of the best-known museums for ceramics and decorative arts in the Netherlands, but fewer people know that the incredible museum building was once a royal palace, and also coincidentally the birthplace of the surrealist M.C. Escher. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, two new exhibitions will show off the other side of the museum’s history.
The exhibition Maria Louise, prinses van Oranje hopes to give visitors a peek behind the scenes into the princesses’ life. Maria Louise van Hesse-Kassel is an important figure both in Leeuwarder and Dutch history; “she moved to Leeuwarden as a young woman, as soon as she married”, says curator Marlies Stoter.
“But just two years later her life was thrown into turmoil, because her husband drowned in the Hollandsdiep. She was, at that time, heavily pregnant with a son- but she served as ‘regent’ until the young boy had grown up. She held this position again, after her son and daughter-in law both died early, until her grandson could ascend”, says Stoter.
Included in the exhibition will be a series of well-regarded classical paintings: “they were donated by the last kind, Willem III. We also have exhibits like a beautiful banqueting glass from the 17th century, and we’ve also paid attention to the large numbers of gold and silver bribes that were received”.
If long-dead royals aren’t your thing, head to the Princessehof’s basement, which has been transformed into the style of M.C. Escher. A small room in the upper reaches of the former palace has been opened up so that visitors can see how the young Escher grew up.
“You’ll also be able to see Escher’s inspirations, including through Moorish and Islamic tiles. The most extraordinary thing is that Leon Keer, who also provided work for our big Escher exhibition previously, has made an incredible Escher-style series of drawings with chalk, including in the vaulted basement. So you really do step into an Escher-interior”, says Stoter.
The two exhibitions will be opened on Saturday by the King’s Commissioner Arno Brok, and museum director Kris Callens.