Exhibition – Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Did you know that the famous 19th-century painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) actually wasn’t a Brit, but a Dutch national with a British denizenship (foreigner with the same rights as the Queen’s British subjects)? Even if I don’t really know much about art, I knew his name and that he was Dutch. But why at the moment there is a big exhibition of his work in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, until 7 February 2017? It turns out he was actually born as Lourens Alma Tadema in Dronrijp, a small village near Leeuwarden in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands, on 8 January 1836. Alma was part of his first names, while the surname was Tadema. He changed that years later. His first wife, Pauline, was of French origine, his second wife Laura Theresa was British. In 1870 he permanently settled with his family in London. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1899. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema died in Wiesbaden, Germany, on 25 June 1912 and was buried in the crypt of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Is the exhibition worth a visit? Yes, I’d say so. Remember the exhibition is a rather popular one. When I was there it wasn’t particularly busy according to the people working at the museum, but I thought it was busy enough. As especially the first part of it is set up in a rather narrow way, it is to my opinion not always easy having a good look at paintings. And some of the paintings have a black line in front of it, and of course you have to stand behind it. Bad thing is that it beeps every time people cross it (and that is pretty often). But over all the exhibition gives a good view of the painter’s life and work I’d say. For people interested there are also very nice souvenirs, including books and lots of postcards, umbrellas, writing paper … Unfortunately no photography allowed, so the pictures above are from the hall.

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