NAGASAKI SCHOOL (EARLY 19TH CENTURY)
Opperhoofd Hendrik Doeff with Javanese servant
Kakemono, watercolour on paper, mounted on silk and textile covered paper scroll, not signed.
Painting: 100.5 x 49.5 cm
Scroll: 189 x 63.5 cm
This is one of probably several copies after a portrait by Shiba Kókan (1747- 1818) of “Opperhoofd” Hendrik Doeff (1764-1837). Hendrik Doeff remained on Deshima for a very long time, from 1799 till 1817 and as Opperhoofd from 1803 till 1817, when he was succeeded by Jan Cock Blomhoff. Due to the situation in Europe during the Napoleonic wars, the occupation of Holland by the French and of Java by the English, contact between Deshima and the outside world was almost impossible.
Doeff was stuck on Deshima and had more than enough time to learn Japanese. He became the Dutchman with the best knowledge of the Japanese language and wrote a Dutch-Japanese dictionary. He was also the first Westerner to write a few Japanese haiku (short poems). A portrait of Hendrik Doeff, signed by Shiba Kókan is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden (inv. 2821-1).