Important genealogical collection of the Dutch de la Court family

Very rare collection of hand drawn coat of arms and portraits pertaining to the de la Court family. 18th century (Leiden, Netherlands).

The present collection of family and heraldic documents centers on the Dutch de la Court family. The largest part dates back to the 18th century, with a few more recent items dating back to around 1840. It thus covers a century of the de la Court family’s history.

The collection contains:

– 24 smaller portrait drawings (18th c.)
– 4 larger portrait drawings by August Christian Hauck (1742 – 1801) (d. 1774)

– 23 colored coat of arms drawings (various sizes) (mostly 18th c.)
– a family crest (18th c.)
– 4 family trees (2 with colored coats of arms) (18th c.)
– a colored genealogical drawing on vellum from c. 1840
– a large gouache of the tomb of Adriana Petronella de la Court (18th c.)

This collection was probably started on behalf of Allard de la Court (1688-1755) or Catharina Backer (1690-1766) and afterwards continued by their descendants.  The 24 smaller portrait drawings are ancestors of Allard and his wife Catharina from which 17 are modeled after the more renowned Album Backer which is to be found in the city archives in Amsterdam and contains portraits of members of the Backer family. The Album Backer was made on the commission of Willem Backer Cornelisz (1656-1731) and contains over 150 portraits of members of their family. It is noteworthy that the 7 portrait drawings that are not in the album Backer are ancestors of Sara Poelaert, the mother of Allard de la Court. The portrait of Sara Poelaert contains the date of death, March 17, 1740, in contemporary handwriting. The deaths of Catharina Backer (†1766) and Allard de la Court (†1755) were entered retrospectively. The portrait drawings were, therefore, made between 1740 and 1755 while Allard de la Court and his wife Catharina were still alive.

According to a handwritten note on one of the family trees of Catharina Backer and Allard de la Court, shortly after the death of Catharina’s father Willem Backer, various documents and genealogical records from the property of Catharina’s brother Cornelis and his wife were given to her. Willem Backer was a lawyer and art collector and the author or client for the Album Backer. He married Magdalena de la Court, daughter of Pieter de la Court, successful Dutch economist and businessman, with whom he had 4 children. Willem was not interested in politics at all and chose to devote his time to studying his family’s history. Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693) was commissioned to paint portraits of him and his wife; furthermore, Jan van Mieris (1660-1690) painted a modernized portrait of his grandfather, Willem Backer (1595-1652), and did some copies of portraits of his father and father-in-law, Pieter de la Court (1618-1685). Willem Backer’s attempts at diligently collecting and documenting his family’s history have become somewhat of a family endeavor, which has been continued by the next generation.

We can deduce the importance of this for the family’s members, from the legal battle that occurred in 1731 between the two families, Backer and de la Court for Willem Backer’s inheritance. In this context, the portrait drawings of the ancestors of Catharina Backer and the parents and grandparents on her father’s side were copied from the Album Backer and later supplemented with portraits of the ancestors of Allard de la Court’s mother.

Catharina Backer (1689-1766) married the merchant and art collector Allard de la Court (1688-1755), her cousin. Catharina received a very unusual, comprehensive education in her family. She was brought up around art, surrounded by the numerous pieces of art in her father’s collection. She has received training in painting since an early age and got to be quite an accomplished, albeit amateur artist, the only one in her family to have compiled a collection of works of art. Her parents had hoped that Catharina’s art lessons would distract her and alleviate her depressive tendencies – known as melancholy at the time. Her father, in his letters to her, often expressed concern about his daughter’s emotional state. Catharina mostly focused on still life painting, mainly flowers, often accompanied by delicate insects or butterflies. Not much of her oeuvre has been kept.

Pieter de la Court (1723-1775), Catharina’s son, married Geertruida Jacoba de Bye (1725-1773), but they had no children. Both of their detailed family trees are included in this collection, beautifully drawn, with the coats of arms of their ancestors. There is a further heraldic document on the lineages and marriages of members of the de la Court family, with two columns, out of which one ends precisely with the marriage of Pieter de la Court and Geertuida Jacoba de Bye. The other column is unfinished and ends with the marriage between Pieter Maria de la Court (1816 -1872) and Henrietta Maria Ram (1816-1895).

Another member of the family, Adriana de la Court (1696-1748), sister to Allard de la Court, has two larger heraldic drawings dedicated to her and her husband, Alexander Sweder van Spaen-LaLecq (1703-1768). Alexander was married twice, hence his coat of arms in the middle, surrounded by that of Adriana de la Court and that of his previous wife, Elisabeth Agnes Jacoba van Nassau la Lecq. 

We could not reach any definitive conclusion as to who the people in A. Chr. Hauck’s portrait drawings are. They show two couples, an older and a younger one. The drawing of the younger woman is entitled on verso: „Une dame de la Court. Le meme portrait a l’huile a été vendu a Amsterdam chez Frederik Muller“. It may be that the younger woman is one of the daughters of Pierre de la Court (1698-1772/74), Allard’s brother, namely Anna de la Court (1743-1775) or Sara Maria de la Court (1751-1790), while the younger man may be one of their respective husbands: Adriaan Salomon van der Hoop (1740-1793) or Floris Petrus van Ewijck (1737-1813). August Christian Hauck had direct connections to the family, having been the father-in-law of Cornelis Bakker (1771-1849), who had studied painting as his pupil. Portraitist and draughtsman, A. C. Hauck was the younger brother of Friedrich Ludwig Hauck. He was active in Maastricht, Leiden and Rotterdam. 

The further coats of arms drawings belong to different descendants in the wider de la Court-Backer families. A detailed description is listed below.

24 Portraits (drawn between 1740-1755):
Size of sheet: c. 33 x 21 cm; Size of portrait: c. 8,5 x 7 cm.

Pieter de la Court the Elder (1590-1657) (after Pieter Dubordieu)
Jeanne de Planque (1591-1663) (after Pieter Dubordieu)
Isaac van der Voort (1576-1629) (after David Baudringien)
Magdalena Stockmans (1598-1660)
Pieter Poelaert (?-1649) (*)
Sara van der Maes (i.a.Maersch) (1596-1674) (*)
Rippert van Groenendijk (?-1683) (*)
Glaudina van Onderwater (?-1667) (*)
Willem Cornelisz Backer (1595-1652)
Bregitta Spiegel (1606-1668)
Willem Gillon (1607-1636)
Christina Balestel (1611-1636)
Pieter de la Court (1618-1685) (after Godfried Schalcken)
Catharina van der Voort (1622-1674) (after Abraham van den Tempel)
Allard Poelaert (1620-1669) (after Adriaen Cornelisz Beeldemaker) (*)
Adriana van Groenendijk (?-1687) (*)
Cornelis Backer (1633-1681) (after Jan van Mieris)
Christina le Gillon (1633-1658)
Pieter de la Court van der Voort (1664-1739)
Sara Poelaert (1666-1740)
Willem Cornelisz Backer (1656-1731) (after Willem van Mieris)
Magdalena de la Court (1661-1712) (after Willem van Mieris)
Allard de la Court (1688-1755) (death date added later) (father-in-law of Geetruide de Bye) (*)
Catharina Backer (1690-1766) (death date added later) (mother-in-law of Geetruida de Bye)

+ handwritten index of the portraits

(*): not to be found in the Album Backer

4 larger portrait drawings by August Christian Hauck, c. 37 x 30 cm.

Coat of arms drawings (18th century):

de la Court family
Backer family
Spiegel family
Poelaert family
– de la Court van der Voort family
Hooft family (Dutch version of de la Court) (Abraham Gillon 1579-1650 + Jannetgen Willemsdr Hooft 1582-1652)
van Diemen family (Engeltje van Diemen + Christiaan Backer 1715-) + (Nicolas Balestel 1577-1650 + Christina Wolphaerts van Diemen 1583-?)
Crusius family
Puderogh (?) family
Sara Maria Backer Lestevenon (1706-1736) (Wife of Pieter de la Court (1668-1772))
Jan Meerman (1687-1746) (husband of Catharina Adriana de la Court (1691-1752))
Maria Clara van der Hagen (Wife of Cornelis Backer (1693-1775))
Adriaen Bogaert van Beloys (1679-1743) (Husband of Elisabeth Adriana Backer (1696-1751))
Alida Maria Pompe van Meerdervoort (1712-1761) (Wife of Pieter de la Court (1698-1772))
Pieter de la Court (1593-1657)
Alexander Sweder von Spaen (1703-1768) (Husband of Adriana Petronella de la Court (1696-1748))

(Size of sheet: c. 33,5 x 21 cm; Size of drawing: c. 16 x 15 cm.)

 – Assendelft family
c. 44,5 x 36 cm.
– van Alphen
c. 52,5 x 39 cm.

– de Bye
c. 47 x 35 cm.

– family crest:
c. 49 x 38 cm.
untitled colored gouache drawing of a coat of arms
(c. 53 x 38 cm)

Coat of arms drawings (19th century):

– 4 smaller drawings of coat of arms (2 of them of de Ram, colored)
– colored drawing of the de Ram coat of arms – Henriette Maria Ram (1816-1895) was the wife of Pieter Marie de la Court (1815-1872), 17,5 x 13 cm.
– colored Citters coat of arms – Johanna Catharina Elisabeth de la Court (1842-?), daughter of Pieter Marie de la Court and Henriette Maria Ram, married Willem van Citters (1842-1913), c. 21,5 x 18 cm.
– colored de la Court coat of arms, c. 23 x 21 cm.

Family trees:

– a colored genealogical drawing on vellum from c. 1840 (most likely made on the occasion of the marriage between Henriette Maria Ram and Pieter Marie de la Court, c. 52,5 x 20,5 cm)
– family tree of Geertruida Jacoba de Bye (1725-1773), with colored coats of arms, c. 78 x 49 cm
– family tree of Pieter de la Court (1723-1775), with colored coats of arms, c. 53 x 36. cm.
– family tree of the de la Court family, from Pieter de la Court (1593-1657) to Pieter Marie de la Court (1815-1872), c. 37 x 28 cm.
– family tree of the de la Court family from Pieter de la Court (1593-1657) to Pieter Hendrik de la Court (1779-1848), c. 56, 5 x 42 cm

EUR 13.500,-