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The house of Paul Tetar van Elven

‘A gem at the canal’

The house of Tetar on the Koornmarkt dates from the 16th century, shortly after the big town fire of 1536. The Koornmarkt is then one of he richest areas of Delft. The premises often extend to the Oude Delft, where many breweries are situated. To the left of the building ran a narrow alleyway towards the building on the Oude Delft, probably a brewery. Already in 1674 this alley was incorporated in the house, which resulted in a new front room. Early in the 18th century the room was split into a side room and a corridor with a front door. A long corridor leads to the reconstructed back of the house with a new room overlooking the garden and a kitchen. Around 1860 a bedroom was built above the dining room.

On the 7th of January 1864 Paul Tetar van Elven and his wife Louise buy the house for 5.375 guilders. They don’t change much in the house itself, but quite a lot in the interior. The paintings above the doors are from his hand. Paul commissioned Abraham Gips to paint the ceiling in the drawing room. In 1894 he becomes Paul’s successor at the Polytechnical School.

The house no longer has the same floorplan as in the 19th century. In the present hall, the corridor was situated with an inner court on either side: a wider one for the toilet and storage cabinets for coal and peat. Above the back premises was a floor with a maid’s room and a smaller storage room.

Paul Tetar determines in his will that his living quarters after his death should be made accessible for the public.  He dies in 1896. However the will is only executed after the death of his second wife, in 1926. In the second half of the thirties extensive adjustments take place: the garden is sold to the neighbours on the Oude Delft; the kitchen and the garden room are demolished to make room for an exhibition area and a small administrator’s dwelling.

The last large change of the interior takes place in 1971: in the not very functional exhibition area the interior of a rich 18th century room from a house at Wijnhaven 9 is installed. In the house at the Wijnhaven a book- and magazines-shop was realised. The back room in the museum is now called the Purple Room; the 18th century ceiling represents the Goddess Aurora on her triumphal car.

Ground floor
On the ground floor you find a small front room, the drawing room and the dining room (arranged as in Paul and Louise’s time), the central hall and the Purple Room.

First floor
On the first floor the reconstructed studio of Paul Tetar, the library and the exhibition room – formerly a bedroom – are located. The former bathroom functions as a depot.

The attic
In the attic a collection of porcelain and ceramics are exhibited. The small maid’s room serves as an open depot.

The loft
In the loft – not accessible t the public – some original poles can be seen, supported by the beams. Here clothes could be aired.