The Rockoxhuis is the 17th-century patrician residence of mayor Nicolaas Rockox (1560-1640), who was also an art collector, humanist, numismatic and patron of the arts. The KBC bank purchased the Rockoxhuis in 1970 and following a restoration period of nearly 7 years, this stunning example of 17th-century Flemish domestic culture is opened for the public. For the restoration and interior arrangement of this historic property, the inventory of the furnishings of the death home of Nicolaas Rockox (Felixarchief, Antwerp) has been an important consultation guide. From this we know, for example, that Rockox, at the time of his death, had 82 paintings, a great deal of furniture, silverware, tin, glass, books and so forth. Only partial attention is given to his important coin collection in the inventory. However, Rockox had personally assembled his coin catalog (Museum Meermanno-Westrenianum, The Hague). Rockox had a painting made of his art chamber by Frans (II) Francken (Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich). Although this view into his art chamber may not be literally interpreted, this painting does summarise the figure of Nicolaas Rockox rather well. Today, the Rockoxhuis is inspired by these sources, amongst others, and is thus richly filled with paintings from Pieter (II) Breughel, Jan (I) Breughel, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens and with furniture and art objects from the 16th and 17th Centuries. Recently, the inner garden of the Rockoxhuis has also been installed and is for the moment the evocation of an early 17th-century urban garden. Small parterres are planted with herbs, flowers and shrubbery, inter alia, that Rockox had received from the French humanist Nicolas Claude in 1609 and 1610 are the highlight in the garden.
Hildegard Van de Velde
CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)