DAILY LIFE IN HOLLAND IN THE YEAR 1566 is a graphically and beautifully illustrated book by Rien Poortvliet--a gifted Dutch artist with a talent for visualizing past times and bringing them to life. Many of his illustrations contain disturbing content--people hanged and still dangling from the gallows, miscreants tortured and locked in cages, children and adults deathly ill and/or starving. In 1566, the Dutch were struggling with the Spanish for control of the Netherlands and the aftermath of war is not pretty.
However, many of Poorvliet's pictures also depict everyday scenes concerning the more pleasant side of life. The viewer is shown ships at sea; horses carrying soldiers and pulling plows; all kinds of housing--floorplans to facades to fully formed buildings; clothing of the various classes including the elaborate headgear of wealthy, deftly wrapped scarves, and helmets; household implements such as lanterns, pails, cooking pots, and candle holders; farming tools; vegetables and meats; and plenty of rural scenery comparable to the works of Ruysdael.
Poorvliet's DAILY LIFE IN HOLLAND is based on information he collected from court records and other sources and tells the story of several members of a family over the course of one year. Poortvliet's earlier illustrative tale, IN MY GRANDFATHER'S HOUSE vividly depicted life in Zeeland over several centuries. I actually liked IN MY GRANDFATHER'S HOUSE better than LIFE IN HOLLAND because he portrayed history by tracing his own ancestors back through past generations. First he imagined his father's life, then his grandfather's life, then his great-grandfather's life, etc.
Poortvliet's books provide a wonderful way to visualize life in past times...