Tholen, Willem Bastiaan (1860-1931) by Scholes, Robert

Willem Bastiaan Tholen (1860 – 1931) He was born in Amsterdam, where he studied under August Allebé at the Rijksacademie. There he met Paul Gabriel, who became his friend and painting companion. He was an outdoor painter, and often did landscapes around Giethorn and sea views of the Zuiderzee. The English art dealer Pecock became interested in his work an imported many pictures for the English public. He made an interesting marriage, described in this passage from the web pages of the Arnhem Doll House Fair: In 1910 a noblewoman in The Hague, Lita de Ranitz (1876-1960) decided to finda new doll’s house, because her old one, which dated from her childhood, had become too small for her growing collection. Lita was 34 years old at that time. Therefore, her new doll’s house was clearly not intended as a plaything, but more as a display cabinet for her miniature collection. Her new doll’s house was designed as a modern villa (modern for that age, of course) and included all the new technical improvements such as central heating, electricity (lamps, telephone, vacuum cleaner) and running water. Luxuries only the rich people of the Hague, such as Lita and her parents, could afford at that time. Lita’s father was in the military, and later worked as private secretary to King William III and later his widow, Queen Emma. So the family moved in the highest circles. The doll’s house is not just an interesting curiosity. It provides us with a unique look at a well-to-do home in The Hague around 1910. Just like in real life, the house is furnished with a mixture of modern items and antiques, such as valuable 17th cabinets and family silver. Rich people bought many things, but of course also inherited quite a lot. There are many paintings in the house. Lita was given these by artists who were friends of her father’s or of the man she would later marry, the ‘Hague School’ painter Willem Bastiaan Tholen. The house contains original art by Jongkind, Arntzenius, Gabriël, Roelofs, Toorop and many others.

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