An Architectural Fantasy

This painting, signed on one of the stones to the left of the tree, is one of the most varied of van der Heyden's architectural fantasies. The dating to the late 1660s is confirmed by the costume of the figures, which may have been painted by Adriaen van de Velde (1636 - 1672).

The architectural details appear to be largely imaginary, though they may incorporate features from real buildings. The classical stone gateway with its decoration of Corinthian pilasters, which is highlighted by the cloud formation in the sky, left of centre, may be intended as a reminiscence of one of the 17th-century gates of Amsterdam, although it does not resemble any of them closely. It is contrasted with the Gothic house of brick in the foreground and the dying tree. A new growth of trees and foliage covers the curved town wall on the right.

Key facts

Artist dates
1637 - 1712
Full title
An Architectural Fantasy
Date made
probably 1665-70
Medium and support
Oil on oak
51.8 x 64.5 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number
Location in Gallery