About the architect
Abraham van der Hart was a prominent architect in our country at the end of the 18th century; the patriotic era and the reign of Louis Napoleon. He designed buildings and interiors in the style of Neoclassicism. The quality of his designs and their execution belong to the absolute top in Holland at this time.
About his work
As the son and grandson of a carpenter-broker he had a background in building practice. Already at the age of thirty he was given the leadership of 'public works' in Amsterdam as a city architect. The Nieuwe Werkhuis and the Maagdenhuis were built according to his design. In addition to this public office, Van der Hart also undertook private commissions. Van der Hart had no academic training.
Nevertheless, he was very well aware of the latest developments in international architecture and interior art. His books show a broad interest in European neo-classical architecture and his work shows influence from France, Italy and England.
Van der Hart was closely involved in the execution of his designs. He led the management on behalf of the client, drew up specifications and supplied design and detail drawings for the interior. Around the turn of the century he undertook a series of private commissions of which the houses Hodshon and Barnaart in Haarlem are the best known.
All registers were pulled open by decorators from Amsterdam and Haarlem. Beautiful stuccowork, panelling, wood carvings, mantelpieces and mirrors have been preserved almost intact in both houses. The reception rooms always have their own atmosphere, with very different colours, materials and ornaments.
The Hodshon House (1794-1795), located on the Spaarne, was given, among other things, an 'Etrurian' drawing room, a Red Room and a Blue Room, the walls of which are decorated in Wedgwood style.
House Barnaart was built a few years later (1804-1808). The house, owned by the Society since 2002, has an empire interior, one of the earliest examples of this style in our country. Highlights are an 'Etrurian' room, with motifs derived from Greek antiquity, a Golden salon with precious wall panelling and a dining room whose walls were executed in imitation marble.