DECKER, Coenraet
(b. 1651, Amsterdam, d. 1685, Amsterdam)

Nine Images of Public Buildings of Delft

1729 (original version 1678)
Etching and engraving, 56 x 83 cm
Gemeente Musea, Delft

In 1675 the former burgomaster and unofficial city historian Dirck van Bleyswijck (1639-1681) was commissioned by the municipal government of Delft to produce a plan of the city, accompanied by engraved cityscapes and depictions of important buildings. The plan of Delft, called the Kaart Figuratief (illustrated map), was engraved by Johannes de Ram and Conraet Decker after designs by Johannes Verkolje, Pieter van Asch, and Heerman Witmont and was published by Pieter Smith under Van Bleyswijck's supervision. The completed work consisted of a plan, or bird's-eye view, of Delft, with all the buildings seen foreshortened; city profiles of Delft and the harbour town of Delfshaven; twenty-two images of individual buildings, two smaller plans of Delfshaven and nearby Overschie; eight family crests of the Delft burgomasters who were in office at the time; and a short text describing the city. The parts were designed to form a monumental ensemble, but smaller configurations could also be arranged.

Johannes de Ram etched the plan of Delft, while Decker was responsible for all the pictorial elements. The nine engravings of buildings or places in Delft, shown in the picture are, reading from left to right and beginning in the top row: the fish market and meat hall; the Gemeenlandshuis; the Waterslootse Gate; the civic guard headquarters; the town house; the pesthouse; the armoury; the horse market; and the new gunpowder magazine.

In 1678 the burgomasters commissioned several frames for various combinations of the prints ensemble to be displayed in the town hall. Steven de Swart,a woodcarver, and Jorisz Arentsz van Cleef, a painter and gilder, made eleven elaborate frames. Three of these have survived, one is shown in the picture.