The discovery of Pompeii

After the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum at the beginning of the eighteenth century, a new type of fashion emerged in interior decoration: creating an interior exactly like the wealthy Romans did. A beautiful nineteenth-century example is the palace of Charlottenhof in German Potsdam near Berlin. The portico and one room in this intimate palace where executed with a type of frieze including dancing Pompeian nymphs. By this model we discovered how the Pompeian paintings in the Ars Decora collection can be applied. And by this we realised how unique these paintings on paper are.

Another fine example of the application of Pompeian decoration is te be seen in one of the most authentic late eigtheenth century rooms in the Netherlands: the so-called ‘Stadhouderskamer’. This room formerly belonged to the last Dutch Stadtholder Prince William V (1748-1806). He resided in his palace at the Binnenhof in the Hague until 1795, when he was forced to leave as a consequence of the French invasion.
The ‘Stadhouderskamer’, which is nowadays part of the Houses of Parliament, was decorated in Pompeian style by the Belgian painter Antoine Plateau (1759-1815). Around 1790 Plateau painted the walls with allegorical scenes. The ceiling was decorated with geometrical patterns. Even the doors were decorated with Pompeian dancing nymphs. Only a few years ago the beautiful paintings could be attributed to Antoine Plateau, by the interior historians dr. Eloy Koldeweij and prof. dr. Anna Bergmans.
The ‘Stadhouderskamer’ is used as a conference room during the formation of a new government in the Netherlands. Al least once a year you can visit this precious room during the socalled ‘Monumentendagen’ (which are normally held in September each year).