Travel in time with The five of us in Rome

Rome 1892-1896 and Bussum 1897-1944, relevant historical linkages, in the order of the book

August 1883 sees the marriage by Thomas Cool and Berber Kijlstra, in Bears, Friesland. Wikipedia on Bears.

Berber had been born here in 1856 as the eldest daughter of parson Jan Jansonius Kijlstra and  Gerardina van Dijk (genealogy). Berber got her diploma as (assistant) elementary school teacher.

Jan Jansonius Kijlstra's brother is Sijpko Hajo Kijlstra, physician and owner of Unia State in Oenkerk. He turns up at the end of the book to inspect Tine's health.


The church in Bears where grandpa was a parson

The village of Bears

Picture of the Gate of Bears.

Thomas had been born in 1851 in Sneek

His father's company is mentioned in this book about the international exhibition in Philadelphia 1876. The company name survives in stone, from the dept. in Amsterdam, Bloemgracht 77 (Google streetview).

TC1851 descends from Gilles Hessels Mesdag like other painters H.W. and Taco Mesdag (sons of Klaas Mesdag) and Lawrence Alma Tadema (son of Hinke Dirks Brouwer). These genealogical pages give part of the genealogical link.

The archives have portraits on glass of about 1830 of Dieuwke Mesdag and Ymkje Cool-Menalda (photo negatives ?).See also Joost Vermoolen, "Genealogie en geschiedenis van het geslacht Mesdag", Zutphen 1998. 

As an 18-year old, Thomas leaves for two years at the Antwerpen Academy of Fine Arts with Nicaise de Keyser

Wikipedia about the Academy in Antwerpen.

Thereafter, he got his teaching certificate at the Haagse Tekenacademie (building since 1930s), now the Royal Academy of Art.

He works with Jacob Maris and Theophile de Bock

He joins his father's company, until Rome calls ...

Travel to Rome via rail from the railway station in Beers.(From which also the ferry from Stavoren to Amsterdam can be used.) The Baedeker guide for Rome 1890.
Rome 1892-1896: Villa Strohl-Fern.

See the book edited by Giovanna de Feo about Alfred Wilhelm Strohl-Fern, the 3D animation of the Villa, and the list of artists. (For German readers, Christine Thome ISBN 9783892350897.)

Currently Lycee Chateaubriand.

See the garden and its sunset or at night.

View from the Villa Borghese park

The villa in worldflicks.    Daily tours.
Or these pictures or these pictures

Larger map

The little boy in the garden of Villa Ruffo: likely Rufo Vincenzo Ruffo principe della Scaletta  Villa Ruffo and information about Rufo Vincenzo
Pincio, the hill, view on the Piazza del Popolo.
Piazza del Popolo, view on the stairways rising up the Pincio, and the balcony looking down on the square again.
Emil Fuchs (1866-1929) - Mr. Rumpsteak.

Fuchs and TC1851 had their studio's next-door. The artist from Vienna and brother-in-law to Gustav Freytag was allowed to use their kitchen to fry his rumpsteaks, which is why the children gave him this nickname. 

A longer text on Fuchs.

Tate gallery (short biography)

National Portrait Gallery

Read his autobiography, e.g. on Queen Margherita, and the review in Time 1925.

Wilhelm Kumm (1861-1939+).

The elder German friend.

Made the buste of Tinchen.

One of his bronzes.
Paul Peterich (1864-1937).

The younger German friend.

Made the buste of Dinchen.


E.g. sons Eckart (writer) and Lucas (painter, and the link to Boymans - Van Beuningen museum, and the Koenigs affaire), and others.

Tinchen and Dinchen, the busts made by Kumm and Peterich. Clay or plaster. Only Tinchen has later been turned into marble. (See this discussion.)
Curt Stoeving (1863-1939).

Made a portrait of TC1851, of which only a bad photograph remains.

Wiki and historische-daten

One of his paintings. 

His portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche.

The deathmask of Nietzsche made by Stoeving.

Zacher, Albert (1861-1911). Art historian. The chapter on contemporary art in (1905) does not mention the Villa but his (1895) article on Villa Strohl-Fern mentions Fuchs, Stöving and Cool. 
Frankfurter Zeitung 1895
Margherita of Savoy, first queen of Italy (1851-1926), patroness of arts and best known for the original pizza. Tine’s Dutch original speaks about a visit by the queen mother and “regina madre”. In 1892-1896 the proper queen mother Adelaide of Austria (1822-1855), mother of Umberto I (1844-1900) was long dead. Possibly it was Elisabeth of Saxony (1830-1912), the mother of queen Margherita. In his biography Fuchs (1925) only relates of a visit by Margherita. It is thus likely that Tine in 1927 wrote of Margherita as she was known since 1900, the queen mother of Victor Emmanuel III.  Wikipedia article

Interview New York Times 1906.

Margherita's grave is in the Pantheon.

Curiously, the Pantheon was a focus of interest of Thomas the painter.

Intereur Pantheon, 1984, by Thomas Cool 1851-1904

Pantheon, wikipedia article

Love song from 1820 from Northern Germany, sung by Paul Peterich in 1894 at the Villa when he looks at the picture of Lucretia Kijlstra, Berber's youngest sister.

Du, du liegst mir am Herzen
Du, du liegst mir im Sinn
Du, du machst mir viel Schmerzen
Weißt nicht wie gut ich dir bin.

Listen to Marlene Dietrich on YouTube.
Rhyme by Wilhelm Kumm when he plays with Gerrit, the little boy brother. Apparently “This is the way” in “The Real Mother Goose” (1916)
Pander, Pier (1864-1919). Currently most known in Holland for his image of queen Wilhelmina e.g. on old coins. Much of his archive was len by Baron Rengers to the Leeuwarden Courant and  lost in an attic fire.

Clara de Kanter (1843-1935) is Pander's nurse and housekeeper, and the hostess at Pander's "salon" for the Dutch colony in Rome. 

The permanent location was Via Nomentana 143. De Kanter writes that Pander lodged for a few weeks at the Villa Strohl-Fern when she was gone to Holland.

In his atelier at the Via Nomentana 143

Pier Pander Museum.

Exhibition in Rome 2008

Couperus, Louis (1863-1923). Writer, renowned in Holland. Friend of Wagenvoort and Pander. Couperus is not referred to in this book directly but was in Rome in 93-94, see his travel report (1894), and again in 95-96 when he met Pander. There remains a short Roman memo between Couperus and Wagenvoort about TC1851. Couperus visited Alma Tadema in London in 1898. His book (1899, 1989) (English translation 1920 “The inevitable”) has the painter Duco van der Staal & family who are partly based upon TC1851 & family. Duco has a love afair with a recently divorced lady. Overall it misrepresents our own artist both in art and family life. Download "The inevitable" (1899, 1920) or the Review in the New York Times.

Louis Couperus Society and the Museum.

Wikipedia article. 

The castle in Couperus’s book is thought to be that of Bracciano which is also where "The five of us in Rome" went to recover from the malaria fever. Wikipedia: "Actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had their wedding in the castle on 18 November 2006."

Wagenvoort, Maurits (1859-1944). Writer and journalist. Dutch translator of Walt Whitman. Friend of Couperus. While Couperus is called the Dutch Oscar Wilde (but was married), Wagenvoort is called the Little Couperus (though others protest against that). TC1851 makes a portrait of him. Wagenvoort has expressed support for the work of TC1851 since (1895) and spoke at the last exhibition in The Hague (1930b). Curiously Wagenvoort (1900) has the painter Terhaer & family who are partly based upon TC1851 & family, and it misrepresents him. Why this strange mixture of support and phantasy? Wagenvoort recalls this in an in memoriam (1909) and in his autobiography (1930a). It is mentioned in his letters with Vierhout et al. (1999). In (1895, 1909,  1930ab) Wagenvoort explains that he is no art critic and then criticizes TC1851, leaving the reader wondering what the value of his praise is.  Wikipedia article.
Cornelia baroness von Mueffling sonst Weiss genannt (1863-1901). Plays a role in Dutch literature on Couperus and Multatuli.

(Couperus's book "The inevitable" has a divorced lady "Cornelie". This could be the baroness, already divorced in 1890, or Cecile de Jong van Beek en Donk, who would divorce only in 1899. Couperus's book is fiction though ...)

See the article by Philip Vermoortel, with her picture.

She had been married to Otto. Their son Ernst (1887) marries in the USA with Elsie Forster. Not  known whether there is a relation to Dini von Mueffling with her book "The Art and Power of Being a Lady" ...

Bernhard Martin Heinrich Carl von Bülow (1849-1929) was German Ambassador in Rome 1893-1897 and Reichskanzler 1900-1907. 

Emil Fuchs was known at the embassy and must have introduced him to the atelier next-door. 

On his visit, Von Bülow brought along pastor Frommel, who bought some work.

Article at archontology.
Frommel, Otto Heinrich (1862-1930). In 1891 Kaiserl. Botschaftprediger in Rome. Son of Emil Frommel (1828-1896), the pastor of the German emperors. Google books. Kosch et al. “Deutsches Literatur-Lexicon”, Saur Verlag.

A bit curious is that Curt Stoeving makes a drawing of Stefan George, see this book, and that Frommel's nephew Wolfgang (1902-1986) (who finally lives and dies in Amsterdam) publishes some books about George too.

Unknown Russian pianiste ... Follini, in De Feo (2010), records that Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910) stayed in the Villa from November 1891 to April 1892 and returned again in November of that year. He arrived with patron of the arts Savva Mamontov (1841-1918) and the latter’s family. Ilya Repin (1844-1930) is likely to have been there too in either 1887 or 1893/4 though this is not sure. Mamontov was also a patron of music, with the Russian Private Opera and composers like Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, and it is not unlikely that he would have supported a pianiste to study at the Villa too.  See also
Theo van Welderen, Baron Rengers (1867-1945).

Son of the Mayor of Leeuwarden. Bought work from TC1851 when visiting Rome. Contact likely via Pander's salon. Lived since 1895 at Heemstra State in Oenkerk, apparently close to Berber's uncle Sijpko Hajo Kijlstra in Unia State in Oenkerk. Later senator and  chamberlain for Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. 

The house where Rengers grew up and where the translator of the book stayed when visiting Leeuwarden.

Wikipedia article.
Colosseum bij maanlicht, 1895, by TC1851 (oil, 215 cm wide by 157 cm high, excl. frame)

Baedeker 1890 warns about the risk of malaria in the nights around the Roman ruins.

A damaging earthquake in the early morning night of November 1 1895 Springerlink and
Next to the tramontana and the earthquake, political unrest worked on the nerves of the painter. Customers stayed away. One day, the family was warned not to go into the city because of the shootings.

Crispi, Francesco (1819-1901), Prime Minister from 1887-1891 and again from 1893-1896. Duggan (2002): “the most complex political figure in Italian history between Cavour and Mussolini”. There was unrest about Ethiopia (as again later in 1934) and an assassination attempt. Crispi won the general elections of 1895.

Wikipedia article
Tine's book records that when Dientje (Dinchen) is sick, that dr. Ballabene is called. Indeed, we can find a publication by a child's physician. Also a specialist is called, and Emil Fuchs suggests a well-known professor. It could not be retrieved who are the specialist and professor.

Marchiafava was personal doctor for the House of Savoy. If this were a movie, Margherita would suggest Marchiafava to Emil Fuchs.

Ettore Marchiafava (1847-1935) and
Angelo Celli (1857-1914) analyse and baptise the malaria parasite Plasmodium, and are professors in Rome around 1895. 

Giovanni Battista Grassi (1854-1925) becomes professor in Rome in 1895 and discovered Plasmodium in the digestive tract of mosquitos. 

The lake of Albano. High resolution picture.

Shchedrin 1825             Inness 1869 

Het meer van Albano, by TC1851.
Lake Nemi. High resolution picture.

Cozens ca 1777            Inness 1857

William Turner, and other pictures.

Het Nemi meer bij maanlicht, by TC1851
Google maps.
View Larger Map
Participation in the Esposizione LXVI, see the Catalogo Anno 1895-96 of the Società degli amatori e cultori delle belle arti. Not listed separately yet.
Baths of Caracalla

Aquarel TC1851 (reconstruction of how it might have looked)
At night the Forum Romanum is lighted in honour of the 11th International Medical Congress. TC1851 of course goes to watch. JSTOR / BMJ 1894
Dientje gets malaria fever again. 

Return to Holland via Florence.

Hotel Savoy, Florence 1896
Bologna, Venice, Bolzano

and Steinach (Tirol), where Tine (Tinchen) gets pleurisy herself and the family has to stay for five weeks.

View Larger Map
After a stay in Bears and Harlingen, arrival in Bussum at the end of August of 1897. Villa Klein Delta, white on the left. 
Tine's school (after being educated by Berber) (Instituut Roodhuyzen).
TC1851's new studio (remodelled coach house).
This is where Tine's original book stops.
The translation tells a bit more about what happend afterwards to The five of us in Rome.
Since 1900 Villa Gerardina, with the new house at Boslaan 2a
and the atelier now Parklaan 29a. (Now the studio of Gerard Unger.)
Contact since about 1898 with Jo Bonger (1862-1925), sister of Andries Bonger (1861-1936), widow of Theo van Gogh (1857-1891) who was the brother of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).

PM. It is not known whether TC1851 met Vincent van Gogh, though it is not unlikely that they have seen each other in The Hague.

Bongers runs a boarding house in Villa Helma to make ends meet after her husband died. Vincent's paintings are stacked about the house and are difficult to sell.

Portrait by Johan Cohen Gosschalk.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1890-1978), son of Jo and Theo, recalls his mother. 


Johan Cohen Gosschalk (1873-1912) took art lessons from Jan Veth, and stayed at Bonger's boarding house. They married in 1901. They let Bauer build Villa Eikenhof on the Regentesselaan, and moved on to Amsterdam in 1903. Portrait of TC1851 by Cohen Gosschalk (Drents Museum)
V.W. van Gogh is one year younger than Gerrit Cool, the little boy brother in Tine's book "The five of us in Rome". They will have attended the same school in Bussum. In a lecture by ir. V.W. van Gogh in the Rijksmuseum, February 1 1975, he mentioned the early friendship. ("Mijn jeugdvriendjes waren o.a. de zoons van Van Eeden, een zoon van de schilder Thomas Cool (later scheepsbouwkundig ingenieur), de kinderen van Jan Veth.") When Tine died in 1944, Vincent Willem sent a letter with condolences to Gerrit. Frederik van Eeden (1860-1932)

For the interconnectedness of things: Van Eeden mentions in his diary visiting pastor Sibillus Catharinus Kijlstra, Berber's younger brother, in the kibbutz in Blaricum March 18 1900.

There are exhibitions of the works in Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam 1916 (curiously right in the years of World War I) and at the home of dr. Arnoldus Idzerda, The Hague 1930 (curiously just after the Great Crash 1929). 

Arnoldus is the brother of radio pioneer Hanso Idzerda (wikipedia and "Instituut Idzerda"). Both are grandsons of Froukjen van Dijk, the sister of Gerardina van Dijk, Berber's mother, and grandmother of Tine.

Both exhibitions have been reviewed by Cornelis Veth, nephew of Jan Veth. His 1930 review is more positive than his 1916 review.

“Notable painter of architecture. The remaining works by Thomas Cool. It is actually a tragic story, regarding the work by the painter Thomas Cool who died in the beginning of this century. His widow and children possess a large part of his work, that however is of such a nature, that housing and even exhibition meet with problems and that only a few may be in a position to buy. Those problems of a practical nature strike you at once but also the piety of the family is strained in their task to assure recognition of this truly important and in our country unusual work. (... full translation in the book ...) The exhibition in The Hague calls into memory and at a proper time that a figure like Cool takes his own place in our art of painting.” Cornelis Veth, Telegraaf July 3 1930.

PM.  To be sure: Another critic in the Handelsblad of June 14 1930 found the exposition an abomination.

Gerrit (1889-1951) becomes a Delft engineer too. For a meeting in Helsinki 1939, he stops over in Hamburg, visits Kumm and writes a postcard to Tine that the old artist is doing fine. Kumm supports his friend TC1851 to the end. Gerrit attends the first general assembly of ISO 1949. TC1851's three grandsons all become engineers too. Gerrit dies in 1951, as the last of "The five of us in Rome".  Return to The five of us in Rome.