Graves and epitaphs |
Old ChurchCategorie: Old Church
Marble lends itself particularly well to ornamental sculpture, as is clear to see from the range of beautiful gravestones and memorials in the Old Church.
Johannes Vermeer may be famous today, but he achieved his fame and recognition only after his death. Up to 2007, his place in his mother in law's family crypt was marked only with a small, inconspicuous stone. It was only then that a new, larger memorial stone was installed, giving Johannes Vermeer some of the recognition he deserves.
Clara van Spaerwoude
Clara, the daughter of a goldsmith, was known mainly for using her enormous inheritance to found a wedding trust fund. But in spite of her wealth and good deeds, Van Spaerwoude would be commemorated ‘only' with an epitaph. But that epitaph, fixed to one of the pillars, is certainly the finest of its kind in the Old Church.
Piet Hein was a naval hero who managed to capture a hugely valuable Spanish treasure fleet during the Eighty Years' War. His funeral in the Old Church was a great public occasion. The detailed slab and statue of his mausoleum, showing him in his naval uniform, was sculpted from a single piece of white marble. The other features of the memorial are mainly black, adding to its distinctive look, with a sombre, detailed inscription.
Maarten Tromp's mausoleum is perhaps even more elaborate than Piet Hein's. Right and left of the sculpture of this heroic naval officer you will see various military objects: a suit of armour, shields, axes and other fighting paraphernalia. A white marble plate at the base of the sculpture features a detailed image of the Battle of Scheveningen, where Tromp was killed. The memorial is currently undergoing a major restoration, so it is not on display.
Anthony van Leeuwenhoek
The scientist Anthony van Leeuwenhoek died at the age of 91 and left enough money behind to pay for burial in the Old Church. His daughter Maria made sure he was given a beautiful mausoleum. Rightly so, as having ‘invented' the microscope, Van Leeuwenhoek made a great contribution to the field of microbiology. His friend, the poet Huibert C. Poot, wrote a respectful inscription which can still be read in the Old Church.
Elisabeth Morgan, the daughter of one of William of Orange's advisers, was relatively unknown, but she has an impressive memorial in the Old Church. Commissioned by her husband, Sir Charles Morgan, it was designed by the English sculptor Nicholas Stone. The dark marble and colourful coat of arms make this a particularly attractive work of art. The image of Elisabeth is accurate: it is said that impressions were taken of her hands, feet and face to make it as true to life as possible.