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Jacob Roman and his connection with the Delft regent Pieter Teding van Berkhout

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The family of Pieter Teding van Berkhout (1643-1713) originated from the West Frisian town of Hoorn, but by the time he was born they had moved to The Hague to take up high governmental offices in the province of Holland and West Friesland. The relatives of his mother, who was born into an important patrician family in Delft, opened the doors to a successful career in that city, where Pieter went to live after his marriage and where in due course he became a member of the city council and burgomaster. The diaries that he kept throughout his adult life reveal his close connection to the architect Jacob Roman (1640-1716), one of the main architects of the late seventeenth century, first as architect of the city of Leiden and later of King-Stadholder William III of Orange. Since Roman features in relatively few sources, Pieter's extensive diary entries, in which the architect is mentioned no fewer than 45 times (see Appendix), reveal several hitherto unknown facts about his career.Jacob Roman did not start out as an architect but followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a woodcarver ('beeldsnijder') whose main skill was the carving of ornamental decorations. It was in that capacity that Pieter Teding van Berkhout first commissioned him in 1677 to execute the decorative carvings on his coach, which was made to Pieter's specifications by craftsmen in The Hague. That was followed a year later by the decorations on a clock that Pieter wanted to present to Delfshaven, of which he was harbour master at the time. In both instances Pieter closely followed the progress of Roman's efforts during visits to his workshop in The Hague.Shortly afterwards, though, Jacob Roman shifted his interest increasingly to architecture (in 1681 finally abandoning his former profession). This coincided with Pieter's diary entry in September 1679 about discussions in Clingendael on architectural subjects between himself, his host and friend Philip Doublet and Jacob Roman. A few weeks later this was followed by Roman's visit to Pieter's house in Delft to discuss some plans Pieter had regarding his own buildings. Yet when Pieter rebuilt his country retreat of Pasgeld near Delft in 1681-1683, Roman's role must have been confined to advising on more general aspects, without any practical involvement in the planning and building process. And again, when Pieter made extensive alterations to his town house in Delft in 1687-1689, all of Roman's visits to Delft in that period to discuss architectural matters only took place when Pieter's renovations were well under way in accordance with plans developed by Pieter himself.Nevertheless, the relationship between the two men flourished, as Pieter Teding van Berkhout showed a marked interest in the building projects in which Jacob Roman was involved. The first time we hear of this is in February 1686, when Pieter visited Roman in Leiden to look at the latter's designs for Het Loo, when he designated Roman in his diary in so many words as the architect of this first building phase of Het Loo (which has remained uncertain in other sources), although it was only in 1689 that Roman became William III's official architect.As Pieter Teding van Berkhout showed great interest in architecture and garden design, joint visits in Roman's company became a welcome pastime, especially in later years. In 1700, for example, Roman took Pieter to some (unspecified) buildings for the king in the Hague and to the recently purchased house of Hans Willem Bentinck, Earl of Portland, on the Voorhout, which was then being renovated by Roman. Two years later, in February 1702, Roman showed Pieter round the quarters which the king's other favourite, Arnold Joost van Keppel, Earl of Albermarle, had been given adjoining the Stadholder's Quarters on the Binnenhof, which Roman was in the process of renovating, according to Pieter's diary. Both these activities of Roman's were unknown from other sources. Whether Pieter's visit later that year to the house on the Plein of another courtier, Willem Adriaan van Nassau-Odijck, this time without Roman, was on the latter's instigation and thus might indicate his involvement in possible alterations, must remain uncertain. But it is well known that both Albemarle and Nassau-Odijck used Roman as the architect for their country houses, De Voorst and Zeist.These were not the only visits that Pieter Teding van Berkhout and Jacob Roman paid to buildings in and around The Hague. For instance, when Roman was appointed intendant of the palace at the Noordeinde for the King of Prussia, the new owner, he took Pieter on an extensive tour of the palace and garden. And when, in 1705, Cornelis de Jonge van Ellemeet, who belonged to the inner circle of Pieter's friends in The Hague and frequently entertained him at his country house Duinrell, was planning to built a palatial mansion in Rotterdam, Pieter was quick to visit Roman to view the plans the architect had made for it. Later in 1709, still during the building process, Pieter and his family visited the house in Rotterdam, which was nearing completion and was already partly furnished. This time Roman did not accompany him. The last recorded joint visit of the two men to one of Roman's projects concerned a house in Delft belonging to Adriaan Boogaert, seigneur of Beloys, in May 1708. The last recorded contact between them took place in April 1711, a little over 18 months before Pieter's death.


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