Franeker 1698 – 1781

Shipping for Amsterdam with the lighthouse on the right

the Hoek van ‘t Eij located northeast of the city

Pen and brush in grey, 31.5 x 54.1 cm.

Signed with the initials pi on the pennant of the large merchant ship.

As a watchman of the Westerpoort in Franeker, Pieter Idserts enjoys the wealth of a fixed income. Gatekeepers – porters – were appointed by the magistrate’s favor, and the office, as a rule, was reserved for relatives or friends of the ruling faction. In addition to his official existence, Idserts works as a tile painter and develops into a gifted draftsman. He is generally regarded as the first Frisian imager of the eighteenth century. His qualities as a draftsman were quickly recognized and in 1744 Idserts was appointed as a landscape draftsman at the Franeker Hogeschool. From this period, the artist undertook travels through Friesland and Holland (as far as Wateringen in the Westland), which he meticulously documents in his sketchbooks. The river and seascapes show a solid knowledge of shipping and maritime history. Idserts’ drawings are often mentioned in the same breath as the work of Gerrit Groenewegen (1754-1826).


A large merchant ship and a war frigate to its right are prominently depicted on the busy IJ. In addition to various inland vessels, a so-called pavilion yacht, with which wealthy merchants and administrators moved. In the offing, the silhouette of Amsterdam is clearly recognizable.

On the central plan is the stone lighthouse of Hoek van ‘t IJ. This was built in the years 1701-1702 on a specially constructed island. The square stone tower was identical to the two other ‘Suyderseese Vuurbeacons’ on Marken and De Ven. The intention was that the Hoek van ‘t IJ lighthouse would have a powerful coal fire, just like that of Marken, but this never happened due to the high costs. The tower had a lantern with an oil lamp from the start. The lantern with a pointed shade is clearly visible in the drawing. This lantern was replaced in 1832 by a somewhat more modern lantern with a walmbol. The tower was then given a Fresnel optic.

In connection with the construction of a new defense system for the Defense Line of Amsterdam on the lighthouse island, the stone lighthouse was demolished in 1893 and a new cast iron lighthouse was built on the south side of the island.


Collections: Vienna, Albertina; Amsterdam, State Print Room, Het Scheepvaartmuseum, City Archives; Leiden, Boerhaave Museum; Leeuwarden, Frisian Museum; Sneek; Frisian Maritime Museum


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