De Mercuur

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Here’s another “megapixel” image of my hometown Zwolle in circa 1900*. As far as I can tell, this one is from the same series/photographer as my earlier colorization of the Diezerpoortenplas. In fact, I was able to find 5 more 13×18 glass negatives in the Overijssel Archives that seem to have been taken on the same (early spring) afternoon. They are incredibly fun to work on, but they do take a lot of time. This one took ten days and contains almost 360 individually colored elements in more than 70 groups, each item separated on its own layer in Photoshop.

The Overijssel Archive also has a postcard version of this image in its collection, postmarked August 14, 1902. So clearly the photograph must have been taken long before that. My current guess is the year 1900.

The Luttekestraat is the street by which most travellers from the west of the Netherlands, as well as those coming from the railway station, would have entered Zwolle. Certainly by the time this picture was taken, the street had turned into somewhat of a calling card for the town, with upscale stores and elegant architecture. The wedge-shaped building in the center is Luttekstraat 11, and at the time of this photograph, it was the home of the glass and porcelain store of the Klinkert family. For many centuries before, this had been the location of the notorious inn De Wijnkan (The Wine Jug.) The building was designed by city architect W. Klinkert (probably related), and constructed in 1882-1883. It was named “De Mercuur” after the Roman god of commerce, which was a popular theme with shop owners at the time. In 1909, it was bought by insurance company “De Utrecht”, and renamed as such, at which point the ground floor facade was replaced by an equally exquisite Art Nouveau front. It is on the National Landmark registry and still features the statue of Mercury on top of the roof.

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