Prince William V Gallery

The Gallery is in the top floor of the building on the left, and on the right is the entrance to both gallery and the Museum Gevangenpoort

The Prince William V Gallery is an art gallery on the Buitenhof in The Hague that currently shares an entrance with the Gevangenpoort museum. It is a modern recreation of the gallery Galerij Prins Willem V once founded there by William V, Prince of Orange in 1774.

Though built in 1774, the gallery has not been continuously open, mostly because the collection was abducted by the French 20 years after it opened and another 20 years passed before most of the works were recovered. In the meantime another gallery was opened in nearby Huis ten Bosch and undeterred by events, Prince William continued collecting art for a new gallery. After recovery of most important works in 1815, the large collection was re-housed in the Mauritshuis and the old location was kept on as an archive. It wasn't reopened as an art gallery until 1977.

The original gallery was built according to the wishes of the Prince and under the direction of his court painter, Tethart Philipp Christian Haag. Haag also managed the collection of paintings by the governor and was his chief adviser in the purchase of paintings. In 1795 the collection was abducted by the French and housed in the Louvre as war booty. Under a later treaty many paintings were recovered in 1815, but many were not, such as the portrait of William III of Orange, now in the Lyon museum.

Some of the more notable works that were abducted to France and came back were:

image title painter date Mauritshuis #ID
Portrarit of Robert Cheeseman Hans Holbein 1533 276
The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man Peter Paul Rubens
Jan Brueghel the Elder
1617 253
Portrait of Anna Wake (1605-1669) Anthony van Dyck 1628 240
Appelles painting Campaspe Willem van Haecht 1630 266
Simeon's song of praise Rembrandt 1631 145
Susanna Rembrandt 1636 147
The feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis Abraham Bloemaert 1638 17
Choir of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft with the tomb of William the Silent Gerard Houckgeest 1651 57
Allegorical portrait of the Steyn family as scene of Diogenes Caesar van Everdingen 1652 39
The young mother Gerrit Dou 1658 32
Ships on a Calm Sea Willem van de Velde the Younger 1658 200
Peasants in an inn Adriaen van Ostade 1662 128
A Woman Writing Music Gabriël Metsu 1663 94
Flower still life with a watch Willem van Aelst 1663 2
Beach scene Adriaen van de Velde 1665 198
Self-portrait 1669 Rembrandt 1669 840

Since 2010, museum visitors can view the restored art gallery that can be reached through a special staircase that connects the two buildings. The collection which hangs here is a modern reconstruction of the original 1774 art cabinet that was situated upstairs above a fencing school. The paintings, taken from various collections, hang crowded together on the walls in the style of the late 18th century. An effort is made to create an impression of the original gallery, rather than any historical accuracy in the choice where which paintings hang specifically. Former top pieces from the gallery such as Potter's Young Bull hang elsewhere, and the gallery itself underwent several changes in exhibition format after it reopened in 1815. Purchases made to replace lost paintings grew the collection so that in 1822 the collection (then called Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen te 's-Gravenhage) was moved to the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery which remains the formal owner of the paintings on display. The location was used as an archive until it reopened in 1977, but closed again as it underwent restoration work in 1993-1994 and in 2009.


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