Tapestry table rug


Two tapestry rugs, 'twee tapyte kleden', on the upstairs back room, room M.

Does this description indicate a floor rug or one of the costly tapestries draped across tables in many Vermeer paintings?

Only the most wealthy of Dutch households put Turkish rugs on the floor. It seems there-fore likely that Vermeer used these as tablecloths. Many Vermeer paintings depict draped tablecloths. The one used in The Procuress has been identidied.

The illustration to the right shows a painted floor rug from a dolls house. Many floors in Dutch houses were just bare wooden planks.

Two rugs as table covers were itemized in the 1623 inventory of moveable goods "sold" by Reynier Jansz (Vermeer's father), to Balthasar Gerrits (the father of Digna Baltens, Vermeer's mother). Furthermore there were 6 tablecloths worth 24 guilders.

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.

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. 86.


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 johannesvermeer.info.

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

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