Jan Toorop

Table of contents

Overview of the Jan Toorop collection

  • Contents: collection of manuscripts, letters and archival materials by and about the painter Jan Toorop (1858-1928).
  • Size: about 100 books, about 500 articles, clippings and objects, and about 500 letters (approximately 4,5 metres).
  • Access: can be found in the KB catalogue. Cannot be lent out but are available for inspection in the Special Collections reading room. Collection made accessible in detail with a printed inventory. The letters have also been included in the Catalogus Epistularum Neerlandicarum (CEN) online catalogue.
  • More informationJeroen Vandommele.

About Jan Toorop

The painter Jan Theodoor Toorop was born in Java on 20 December 1858. He left for the Netherlands in 1869 and studied at the Amsterdamse Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts) from 1880 to 1882. Toorop began as an impressionist but his style developed through pointillism into symbolism. He designed book bindings, illustrations, ceramics and advertisements. From 1905, he was increasingly inspired by his Roman Catholic faith.

Contents of the Jan Toorop collection

The collection features Toorop's literary legacy: the painter's library and letters to and from artists, family members and friends. Most of the collection consists of books, articles and clippings about Toorop. These include catalogues of exhibitions of his work, personal and presentation copies, books annotated by Toorop and book bindings and illustrations designed by him.

The correspondence in the collection consists of two parts: correspondence with family, such as his wife Annie Hall and his daughter Charley, and letters from fellow artists, patrons and admirers, such as Louis Couperus and P.C. Boutens. The archive also contains personal objects, including a collection of photos, notebooks and awards. Together, these texts and objects offer insight into Toorop's personal and artistic development and network.

  • Jan Toorop, Vrouwenportret (circa 1912).

Origin of the Jan Toorop collection

In 1929, Charley Toorop gifted the archive of her father Johannes Theodoor Toorop (1858-1928) to the KB – first as a loan, turning into a gift after her death. The archive has been expanding since 1929, for example adding correspondence with Mies Elout-Drabbe (1965) and William Degouve de Nuncques (1990). In 1947, the KB received a special acquisition from Mrs. W.M.C. (‘Miek’) Janssen (1890-1953): a subtly drawn symbolist portrait of a young woman, sparsely coloured with chalk.



Accessibility of the Jan Toorop collection

The collection can be consulted in the KB's Special Collections reading room.

Relationship with other collections

A large collection of Toorop's manuscripts, photos and letters can be found at the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History.

Literature about the Jan Toorop collection


  • List of letters, documents, books and book covers, magazines and magazine articles, newspaper cuttings, catalogues, medals, portraits and other personal particulars, comprising the Toorop collection, s.n., s.l., s.d.
  • Coelen, P. van der & Lieverloo, K. van (red.), Jan Toorop portrettist. Waanders, 2003.
  • Grinten, H. van der & Thoben, P. (red.). Jan Toorop, De Nijmeegse jaren 1908-1916. Nijmeegs Museum Commanderie van St. Jan, 1978.
  • Hefting, V. Jan Toorop. Een kennismaking. Bert Bakker, 1989.


  • Thomassen, K. ‘Jan Toorop, schilder, tekenaar, graficus 1858-1928’, Verzamelaars en verzamelingen. Koninklijke Bibliotheek 1798-1998. WBooks, 1998. pp. 115-121.
  • Wezel, G. van. Jan Toorop, zang der tijden. WBooks, 2016.