Commode stool, chamber pot box, a room toilet within a box



Two commode stool or room toilet boxes, 'twee secreetkoffertgens' in the room off the Great Hall, room G.

Secreet in the Dutch dictionary WNT vol. XVI, col. 1268 gives us a choice of "3) secret room, secret stash space, secret place to stow secret papers" ; "4) chamber pot box. In this last sense see Pijzel in Het Hollandse pronkpoppenhuis, 2000, ill. 310 shown here.

Statesman Frederik Hendrik is known to have used a movable 'camerstoel' which was covered in green velvet, and which had a copper basin (Fock 2001, p. 24)

The contents was stored in the yeard and dumped a few times a week in waste barges.

Babies potty chairs.

Note : This object was part of the Vermeer-inventory as listed by the clerk working for Delft notary public J. van Veen. He made this list on February 29, 1676, in the Thins/Vermeer home located on Oude Langendijk on the corner of Molenpoort. The painter Johannes Vermeer had died there at the end of December 1675. His widow Catherina and their eleven children still lived there with her mother Maria Thins.

The transcription of the 1676 inventory, now in the Delft archives, is based upon its first full publication by A.J.J.M. van Peer, "Drie collecties..." in Oud Holland 1957, pp. 98-103. My additions and explanations are added within square brackets [__]. Dutch terms have been checked against the world's largest language dictionary, the Dictionary of the Dutch Language (Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal , or WNT), which was begun by De Vries en Te Winkel in 1882. In 2001 many textile terms have been kindly explained by art historian Marieke te Winkel.C. Willemijn Fock, Titus M. Eliëns, Eloy F. Koldeweij, Jet Pijzel Dommisse, Het Nederlandse interieur in beeld 1600 - 1900 Waanders, Zwolle 2001.

Illustration taken from the recently published handbook on Dutch Doll Houses by Jet Pijzel-Dommisse,Het Hollandse pronkpoppenhuis, Interieur en huishouden in de 17de en 18de eeuw, Waanders, Zwolle; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2000, ill.310.

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

Launched December, 2002; Last update March 2, 2017.

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