The Secrets of Scheveningen Sands

Today's blog has some lovely links both personal and artistic. Most of you will not have heard of Scheveningen Sands unless you have Dutch heritage. If you do have Dutch DNA running in your veins you will also be able to pronounce Scheveningen and possibly know where it is. My research has revealed (according to Wikipedia) it is one of the eight districts of The Hague, Netherlands and is a modern seaside resort with a long, sandy beach, an esplanade, a pier, and a lighthouse. The beach is popular for water sports such as windsurfing and kiteboarding.
(Cropped from a photo by scatterheartsforever)
So why are we interested in this seemingly uninteresting place?

About a year ago I posted a blog on the paintings of Robert Bissell. I wrote a little about a painting he had done based on a painting by the C17th Dutch artist Hendrick van Anthonissen. This is Robert Bissell's painting.

And this is View of Scheveningen Sands by Hendrick van Anthonissen painted in 1641.

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

But sometime between 1641 and 2014 someone painted the whale out of the image and this is how it was seen for the 140 years it has been housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England.

You can see a close up of the difference here.
(Credit: NBC News)

The story of this painting for us came together in this way. Caroline of Glen Iris is interested in wildlife paintings. When she joined up I sent a link for her to see the blog I had written on Robert Bissell and his bears. The painting of the bears (above) on the beach at Scheveningen Sands caught her eye as her mother lived as a child close to this place. I then decided to check out the art life of Scheveningen Sands thinking I might uncover some interesting artists. What I uncovered was the story of the painting View of Scheveningen Sands by Hendrick van Anthonissen and how the secret of the whale came to be discovered.

According to the staff at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK it was was always a bit of a puzzle what the people clustered on the sands, or peering down from the dunes, were actually looking at on a bleak stretch of windswept Dutch beach. The startling truth (was) revealed, after the conservator Shan Kuang took a delicate scalpel to a painting...(

Please follow this link to read the remarkable story of the painting's restoration which includes a fabulous video showing how some of the restoration took place. I highly recommend you watch it.

What makes this story even more intriguing is that Caroline of Glen Iris is Jane's (the blog's 2IC) sister. I imagine that their ancestors were amongst the crowd gathered on the beach at Scheveningen Sands to observe the beached whale in 1641.