Van der Burch

Hendrick van der Burch
(Honselersdijk 1627–Leiden? after 1666)


A Family by a Window with a Maidservant in an Interior


oil on canvas
57.2 x 63.5 cm. (22.5 x 25 in.)
c. 1660

 “Dutch genre paintings […] speak volumes about contemporary taste, elite taste to be specific, for it was these trend-setting collectors who dominated the art market after 1650.”

Wayne E. Franits, Pieter de Hooch: A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy, Los Angeles: 2006, p. 68

Hendrick van der Burch (also known as Hendrick van der Burgh) was part of the so-called School of Delft, which united painters who had an interest in perspective and subtle effects of light and atmosphere, such as Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) and Pieter de Hooch (1629–1684). Van der Burch was born in 1627 in Honselersdijk as the son of a candle maker and first appeared in the city of Delft in 1642. Van der Burch must have received his training there, although the name of his teacher is not known.1 There has been much confusion about his biography, mainly because of his common name. He had no less than six namesakes living in Delft around 1650. Only one Hendrick van der Burch was registered at the Guild in Delft, where his name was first mentioned in 1649. His sister Jannetje was married to Pieter de Hooch, so apart from a professional relationship, these two painters were also brothers-in-law.2



Given their close relationship and shared interest in interior pieces, it is hardly surprising that the oeuvres of these painters have been mixed up in the past and many of Van der Burch’s paintings were misattributed to De Hooch. A Family by a Window with a Maidservant in an Interior was at one point also believed to by De Hooch, and reattributed to Van der Burch by Peter Sutton in 1980.3 They both painted pieces with a visual manipulation of indoor spaces and courtyards in a lightened tonality and incorporated doorkijkjes, views to adjacent spaces.4 Since Van der Burch hardly signed or dated his works, it is hard to reconstruct the evolution of his oeuvre, yet it is likely he started out painting guardroom paintings, influenced by Delft masters, such as Anthonie Palamedesz. (1601–1673). From the late 1650s onwards, he developed more interest in depicting continuity of indoor and outdoor spaces.5 The present painting is probably dateable to the 1660s, when his paintings had steeply-inclined floors and generally depicted both sides of a room.6 Van der Burch left Delft in 1664 and his date of death has not yet been discovered, but he was recorded at the baptism of one of his daughters in Leiden in 1666.7


1. Walter Liedtke et. al., Vermeer and the Delft School (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2001), 235.
2.Peter Sutton, “Hendrick van der Burch,” The Burlington Magazine, 122 (926) (May, 1980), 315–316.
3. Ibid., 324.
4. Sutton, private correspondence, 2017.
5. Sutton, “Hendrick van der Burch,” 320.
6. Sutton, private correspondence, 2017.
7. Sutton, “Hendrick van der Burch,” 319.