The Rijksmuseum is the national museum housing both a historical and art collection.





The most famous painting in the museum is the Nightwatch by Rembrandt. But I chose the painting below as my favourite. It is a picture of the battle of Waterloo by Jan Willem Pienemann and shows the moment when the Duke of Wellington (the British Commander) hears that the Prussian army has arrived at Waterloo. This was the turning point of the battle which till then had been very even. Napoleon’s plan has relied on being able to keep the Prussians from making it to the battle before he had beaten the British and their allies but although it was a close run thing the French army failed to do this and the battle was lost.


Some final pictures of paintings by one of my favourite artists






Although I had visited the museum before, I had not known about Van Gogh’s liking for Japanese art and that he had produced a number of pictures in the Japanese-style.




Some landscapes by Van Gogh





I am away this week so am re-posting some posts on art in Amsterdam .



Vincent van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853. After school he went to work for an art dealers, but in pursuing his desire to become a pastor, he left in 1879 and went to work as a missionary in a poor mining region in Belgium. The scenes that he saw here are captured in some of his paintings.

"The potato eaters, Vincent van Gogh (1885)" / "De aardappeleters, 1885 Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)"
The Potato eaters
Photo by BlikStjinder (

In 1885 he moved first to Paris and then to the South of France and concentrated on his painting. He continued to struggle throughout his life with mental and physical health issues. In Paris, he developed a friendship with the artist Paul Gauguin and the two painters lived together for while in Arles, but in December 1888 Van Gogh in a bout of depression threatened Gauguin with a Razor and was admitted to the local psychiatric hospital. Gauguin left Arles and the two never met again. Van Gogh went first to a hospital in San-Remy and then to Auvers-sur-Oise. It was at Anvers that he committed suicide on 27 July 1890.

Bedroom in Arles

Bedroom in Arles

Even when his illness prevented him going out he found subjects to paint

Even when his illness prevented him going out he found subjects to paint

Van Gogh was 47 years old when he died. His works are famous for their use of colour and their bold style.



Michael Bass was born in 1799. His family owned a brewery in Burton-on Trent, which had been founded by his Grandfather. Michel’s father had expanded the business including developing a lucrative export trade to Russia. At the age of 18, Micael left school and joined the brewery. It was a difficult time for the brewery as exports to Russia had been severely disrupted because of the Napoleonic war. However, a new market soon opened up with the sale of Pale Ale to India and Southeast Asia (By 1833 this represented 40% of the companies business). Michael became the head of the company in 1827 and the arrival of the railway in Burton helped reduce the costs of transport and increase distribution. By 1870 Bass was the biggest Brewery in the UK.

Michael Bass became the member of Parliament for Derby in 1848 and continued in this post until 1883, just before his death. He advocated free trade, low taxes and an improved standard of living for the working class. He worked to abolish imprisonment for small debts. He was a philanthropist to both Burton and Derby providing libraries, schools, museums and recreational facilities. In his last years, he was offered a peerage but refused, saying that he wished to remain in the House of Commons (His son Michael, also an MP became Lord Burton in 1897).

Derby Cathedral

Posted: May 2, 2019 in Derbyshire, History, UK
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Founded in the mid-10th century, the church was rebuilt in 1725 except for the tower which dates from the 16th century. It became a Cathedral in 1927 when the Diocese of Derby was created.

The retro-choir was designed in the 1930s but was not added until the 1970s.

The Museum was opened in 1878 in a building it shared with the public library. It was extended when a new building was built adjacent to the original building in 1964. It contains some interesting galleries including

* Paintings by local artist Joseph Wright

* History of Derby

* Reconstruction of the room from Exeter House in 1745 when it was briefly the command centre of the Jacobite army.

* The regimental museum of the 9th/12th Lancers, the Sherwood Foresters and the Derbyshire Yeomanry.

Charles Edward Stuart was the grandson of King James II who had been forced to abdicate from the British throne in 1688. Charles’ father had briefly attempted to take the throne in 1715 but had not been able to raise the support in Scotland to challenge for the throne. So in 1745, it fell to Charles, Bonnie Prince Charlie as he would become known, to take up the Stuart cause.

He landed in Northern Scotland in July and proceeded south gathering support and in September took Edinburgh. He defeated the British forces at Prestonpans and decided to make a rapid descent on London. He marched south but although he did not encounter much resistance, he received little support and tired and worn-out his army reached Derby on 4th December 1745. During the 5th a messenger arrived with information that a large British force blocked the road to London and that two others were approaching from the West Midlands. Unbeknown to the Stuarts, this was inaccurate as all 3 forces were still days away and the road to London was still open. Acting on the information as they understood it, the Scottish Lords argued for retreat and Charles reluctantly agreed.

A reconstruction of the room in Exeter House where the Jacobites held their council of war in Derby (items and furnishings removed when it was demolished)

So a day after reaching Derby they began to march north again and kept going until they reached Glasgow. Another British army was encountered near Falkirk and the Scots again were successful, but despite this, the generals and Lords still argued for a return to their Highland lands to regroup. This delay was all the British Generals needed to muster their forces and the final battle was fought at Culloden near Inverness and resulted in a massive defeat for the Stuart army.

Charles escaped and despite a large reward and some narrow escapes he made it back to the continent where he continued to live until 1788. 

There is evidence of Pre-historic occupation in the Derby area.

The Romans built a fort on the site in 50AD and a vicus (town) grew up around it. However when the Romans left Britain the site was abandoned.

There was possibly an Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area, but the Vikings founded a settlement in 873 which was captured by the Saxons in 917. It prospered and a mint and market are recorded in the 10th century.

Viking Sword

The Doomsday book (1086) records a population of 2000 (The average size of a village was about 100-150).  It received charters in 1154 and 1204 and a wool industry was established in the town. Despite outbreaks of the plague in 1636 and 1665, the town continued to grow. The UK’s first silk mill was opened in Derby in 1717.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

The city was occupied by the Jacobite Army in December 1745 and King George I visited in 1773 and warranted the change of name for the local china from Derby to Crown Derby (it later became Royal Crown Derby by permission of Queen Victoria). The Railway reached Derby in 1839 and the Midland Railway soon set up a depot for maintenance and construction of engines.

The Old Roundhouse from the Railway Works

In 1907 Rolls Royce opened a factory manufacturing cars and airoplane engines.