Anonymous: Portrait of Hilleke de Roy (1586)


(Gorcums Museum, Gorinchem, The Netherlands)

A painting by an unknown 16th century artist. This portrait shows Hilleke de Roy Aertsdr. (1510-1601) and 4 orphans of the Holy Spirit orphanage in the Dutch town of Gorinchem. The Holy Spirit Orphanage in Gorinchem was founded in 1557 by Matthijs Aelbertz and his wife Mariken Kolff - in their will it was stated that after their deaths, their house was to be transformed into a orphanage. Hilleke de Roy Aertsdr. was the first 'binnenmoeder' (literally 'internal mother' - the person who was responsible for the daily affairs of the orphanage opposed to the regents, the board-of-directors, who handled the financial and organizational affairs) of the orphanage. A text below the painting which was added later explains that Hilleke lived to be 90 years old and was a very loyal and loving binnenmoeder for 43 years (!). The text at the upper left corner states that Hilleke is 76 years and she is a binnenmoeder for 29 years at that time of the painting. On the upper right corner is a view of the great market and the old city hall of Gorinchem with a group of orphans. Painting from 1586.

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