What did the Gulden Hoofd look like from the street?

In the absence of a photograph or detailed painting, we have to look for models elsewhere in Delft. Since 1918, the Vereniging Hendrick de Keyser, named after the Golden Age architect, has been purchasing old buildings for restoration and rental. They have almost 400 properties, five of which are in Delft. The Huis Lambert van Meerten and Fundatie van Renswoude are on the Oude Delft. De Kaerskorf and De Maen are on the Markt where it flows to the Camaretten. Het Gulden Tonneke is on the Wijnhaven just two blocks down from the Gulden Hoofd. De Kaerskorf and Het Gulden Tonneke, restored by Hendrick de Keyser in the 1960's, are the nearest models to Het Gulden Hoofd. They are physically close, too. Someone standing in front of the Gulden Hoofd could easily recognize friends standing in front of De Kaerskorf and Het Gulden Tonneke.

Kaerskorf translates literally to candle hive, in the sense that candles are made of wax which comes from bee hives. An earlier occupant of the back house had been a candle maker.

Gulden Tonneke is a golden cask or barrel. Perhaps the person who named it sold either butter or wine, but the records were lost in the 1618 Stadhuis fire.

De Kaerskorf, Markt 2

The photograph on the right (click to enlarge) shows what Leeuwenhoek saw on his way to the Stadhuis. Leaving his house, he walked over the Warmoesbrug and a few more steps along the Camaretten when he paused. He had traveled barely 50 meters (55 yards).

On the left sidebar, the 1678 survey drawing of the Vismarkt and Camaretten shows an arrow on the upper left margin pointing toward the Gulden Hoofd. Leeuwenhoek had just walked from left to right through the middle of the drawing.

In front of him, looming, was the Stadhuis and its clock tower. The red shutters protected the windows of the room where the city magistrates (schepenen) met and for whom Leeuwenhoek served as the camerbewaarder, a word with an unclear translation and a job with unclear duties.

Directly in front of him on the corner of the Voldersgracht and the Markt was a house and shop that looked much like the Gulden Hoofd probably did: three stories, small-paned windows (kruiskozijnen), and an attic under the roof behind the step-gables (trapgevels). During Leeuwenhoek’s lifetime, the Kaerskorf was owned by Tobias Pieters, who sold crockery: jars, bottles, jugs, and pitchers (kruiken). He was followed by Nicolaes Bruinel, Pieter van der Kest, who owned property all over town so probably rented this one, and finally two generations of the Andries Cloeting family. Today, it has the address Markt 2 and houses the Koos Rozenburg antique shop.

Had Leeuwenhoek turned around, he would have seen the view in Oudewater's 1785 aquarelle (left sidebar; click to enlarge): the Vleeshal on the right, then the Vismarkt, the Hippolytusbuurt gracht between the two rows of trees, and the row of houses beyond, Leeuwenhoek's neighbors. The first house that Oudewater could see was probably the third or fourth house from the corner. The Gulden Hoofd was the second, but the windows, step-gables, and tiled roofs were fairly uniform throughout the neighborhood. All of those houses were built in the decade or so after the fire of 1536 of brick and tile, replacing the wood and thatch of the houses that burned. The Kaerskorf was built in 1598.

The 1678 Kaart Figuratief sketch (left sidebar; click to enlarge) shows that the Gulden Hoofd had a door in the middle and windows above and on either side. We know from the 1745 inventory of the house that it had a lower floor, upper floor, and top floor. De Kaerskorf matches those characteristics. It is even about the same width, only ten centimeters (four inches) narrower than the Gulden Hoofd.

On the close-up of De Kaerskorf's 1548 facade (left sidebar; click to enlarge), five pieces of iron are visible. They are above and below the dark red shutters on the upper floors. Three show in the photograph as vertical black lines and the two below the outside shutters show as black six-pointed decorations. These are the ends of the iron spikes driven into the rafters during construction to keep the rafters attached to the brick outside walls. Almost half a millenium later, they're still doing their job. The Gulden Hoofd would have had spikes in the same places, though probably not in the same style.

The differences

The facade of De Kaerskorf has been re-bricked and the windows re-framed and re-glazed. However, they were restored in the same style as the original.

The Gulden Hoofd was between two other houses. Markt 2 is on a corner so it has a step-gable on the side.

The display window shutters on the ground floor of the Gulden Hoofd probably opened sideways, as do the dark-red shutters on the upper floors of Markt 2, but not those on the ground floor.

The Gulden Hoofd had an overhang over the stoop. Markt 2 has no overhang. Its upper floors extend a little toward the street, which protects the front door as well as does the extremely narrow ledge on the red house next door. The Oudewater aquarelle shows an extremely wide ledge in the left foreground, almost a roof, but it doesn't show any ledges over the doors of Leeuwenhoek's neighbors' houses across the gracht.

The Gulden Hoofd was the same height as Markt 2 but was much deeper. That has no bearing on the facade, however.

Het Gulden Tonneke, Wijnhaven 16

Delft's Oude Delft gracht, the first dug, is called Oude Delft throughout its length. The Nieuwe Delft, parallel to the Oude Delft and dug not long thereafter, runs through the middle of Delft's Medieval city limits. Leeuwenhoek lived almost midway along the Nieuwe Delft., which was lined on both sides with houses. The street between the houses and the gracht had a variety of names. From north to south:

  • Voorstraat: from the Kolk past the Sint Stevensbrug to the Visbrug (pedestrians only)
  • Hippolytusbuurt: (also called Pooltjesbuurt) from the Visbrug past the Poelbrug to the Warmoesbrug (outside of Leeuwenhoek's house)
  • Wijnhaven: from the Warmoesbrug to the Touwbrug
  • Koornmarkt: from the Touwbrug past the Leeuwebrug (pedestrians only) to the Sint Jacobsbrug
  • Korte and Lange Geer: from the Sint Jacobsbrug to the Rotterdamse Poort

The Gulden Tonneke (right; click to enlarge) is on the Wijnhaven.