The Martini Tower (d'Ôlle Grize, or Old Gray) in Groningen probably is one of the most charactestic landmarks in the Netherlands and has been for centuries the symbol of the Northern provinces. It was build in the 15th century, 96 meters high, and it is said the foundation, build on a layer of cowhides, isn't 10 feet deep.
This woodblock print (L.) of a snow covered Martini tower was recently salvaged from a bin with discarded old frames.The only thing I was able to find out about its maker is that it's signed by Pieter Jan Ningen who, after a little genealogical research spend his life in Groningen (1888-1956) and was, like his father, a carpenter. So this could well be a unique print by an amateur printmaker. There's only one more Martini Tower woodblock print I know of and it is in the great book and van der Grinten collection I mentioned in the Blog before: "die Frühzeit des Modernen Holzschnitts". That print is by an unknown printmaker (R.). The tower is starring in dozens of etchings (I'll not bother you with here) but it's also the main focus in a great painting I do want to share.
Cornelis Vreedenburgh (1880-1946) showing a peaceful, sunny and colourful market day. As before him did another son of Groningen etcher Waalko Dingemans (1873-1925) in this etching (below) And there's a photograph from around 1905 showing market day (probably every day).
Otto Eerelman (1839-1926), a celebrated and internationally famous painter of horses in his days, in 1919 painted on commission "26th August". A celebration of "Gronings Ontzet" (end of siege of 1672). My great grandfather Sieger (1866-1932) is in there somewhere holding and leading a horse for jurying.
Waalko Dingemans (1873-1925) also etched this North facade of the Great Market and an early (sun rising in the east ) lone waggoner (below). Chartered waggoners (horse and wagon transporters) and stable owners the honourable trade of my ancestors for many generations since the 17th century and some 150 years before my branch of the family settling in Groningen around 1810.
What was lovingly build in 4 centuries was demolished in just three days (April 13-16th) in 1945. The historic and once considered most beautiful and authentic medieval market square in the Netherlands was savagely shot to rubble liberating the city from German occupation, never to recover to its former glory. See and weep: 1900-1945-1960.