Jan Verkolje (1650-1693). Portrait painter and engraver. Born in Amsterdam. Houbraken (book 3, 283) mentions him getting wounded in the heel at age 10 and becoming bedridden as a result of an infection. A certain 'Bronkhorst' advised him to pass the time by making copy drawings after playing cards. At this he was very successful. Managed studying and understanding the perspective books which were lent to him by Jacob Koning in just one month.

He married a Delft woman in 1672 and became member of the Delft Guild in 1673, making portraits. His family was part of the Mennonite minority. His son is Nicolaas Verkolje.

Among his many portraits is one of the Delft scientist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, 1672, which is actually one year prior to Verkolje's entry in the guild of St Luke. This would indicate a bit of illegal moonshining on his part.s


Above: Mezzotint engraving by Jan Verkolje showing his fellow artist Van Asch. Among his many students were the gifted copyist Henrik Steenwinkel, Albertus van der Burch (1672-after 1727), the mezzotint engraver Joan or Jan van der Spriet (active c. 1700), Willem Verschuring (1657-1715) and portrait painter Thomas van der Wilt (1659-1733).

Verkolje lived on Wijnhaven in De Swaen (the Swan) at number 8-9 where he also died; in 1693 his widow sold this house for 4200 guilders.  


Note: Arnold Houbraken, De groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen, The Hague 1752 [2nd ed.] Book 3, page 286.

 To the left: Jan and Nicolaas Verkolje, A Gentleman in Cassock, Oil on canvas 26.5 x 32 cm, c. 1690-1700 coll. Australian National Maritime Museum.

The museum web site states: "This portrait of a gentleman in a cassock, with a maritime scene on one side and a chart, crosstaff, astrolabe, chart dividers and celestial globe on the other, suggests a Dutch seafarer from the VOC (Dutch United East India Company) of the 1690s - believed to be Willem de Vlamingh who explored the Western Australian coastline in 1696/97."






To the right: Painting by Verkolje of Van Leeuwenhoek, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.



Notes: Ett 1975 p. 82. GAD DTB 8 may 1693; in 1690 Reg. 100E penn. no. 1765 fol. 214. Thieme-B. XXXIV, 257. All the paintings of the Rijksmuseum p. 570-571. He died at Wijnhaven, Soutendam, Necrologium, p. 14. RKD, Bredius archive, artist folder cites 22 Dec. 1693 (Not. J. de Vries). 1 Dec. 1685 he receives an 1/3 inheritance from surgeon Nic. Voorheul (Not. J. De Vries).

Verschuring (from Gorkum / Gorinchem) is mentioned in Arnold Houbraken, De groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen, The Hague 1752 [2nd ed.] Book 2, page 196; book 3 p. 282.


This page forms part of a large encyclopedic site on Delft. Research by Drs. Kees Kaldenbach (email). A full presentation is on view at johannesvermeer.info.

Launched 16 February 2001; Last update March 1, 2017.