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Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar collection

Identifier: ubl119

Scope and Contents

De Gijselaar’s collection gave a broad survey of European printmaking from the sixteenth century onwards, with special attention to Dutch and German prints. Although the number and the quality of the drawings he possessed was much less impressive, De Gijselaar owned some interesting early drawings from the Leiden School, and two drawings by Rembrandt.


  • Creation: Bulk 16th to 19th century

Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar was born in Brussels in 1792. His family moved to Leiden in 1799. He briefly studied Law there, but decided to join the army, where he eventually became first lieutenant. He was severely injured at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and was forced to resign from the army. He spent several years at Kasteel Zuylestein near Amerongen. De Gijselaar returned to Leiden in 1825 and became member of the City Council, member of the fourth class of the Koninklijk Nederlandsch Instituut, director of Ars Aemula Naturae, and member of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde. After the death of Humbert de Superville in 1849, De Gijselaar was appointed director of the Print Room in Leiden. Feeling somewhat uncomfortable in his function he resigned within two years and withdrew from the university. De Gijselaar died in November 1873.


20.000 prints and 150 drawings (circa)

Language of Materials


Abstract in Dutch

Prenten en tekeningen verzameld door Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar (1792-1873), directeur van het Prentenkabinet van 1849 tot 1851.

Abstract in English

Prints and drawings collected by Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar (1792-1873), director of the Print Room from 1849 to 1851.

Physical Location

Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Bijzondere Collecties

Other Finding Aids

No separate inventory of De Gijselaar’s collection exists. The most complete survey can be found in the manuscript catalogue drawn up by De Gijselaar’s successor as director, J.L. Cornet, dating from the 1870s and part of the archives of the Leiden Print Room (APK), which however does not record the provenance. Many prints and drawings have been recorded in the Digital Collections database and in due time all will be recorded there.

Custodial History

De Gijselaar purchased most of his prints and drawings at auctions throughout the country.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

After his withdrawal as director of the Print Room in 1851 De Gijselaar donated a large part of his collection – the exact number is unknown but must have comprised many thousands of prints - to the institution he had served for almost two years. Unfortunately no catalogue of his donation was made up but all prints and drawings were stamped ‘NG’ by his successor J.L. Cornet. De Gijselaar kept donating prints and drawings throughout the rest of his life. A last donation was received after his death in 1874, containing mostly prints by Lucas van Leyden and Albrecht Dürer.


No additions are to be expected.

Separated Materials

During the years that J.Ph. van der Kellen was director of the Leiden Print Room (1883-1896) as well as of the Amsterdam Print Room several thousands of prints were transferred from Leiden to Amsterdam, including several hundreds that originated from De Gijselaar’s collection.


  • E. Tholen, Het Museum van Fraaije Kunsten voor de Academische jongelingschap der Leidsche Hoogeschool, in: Het Leidse Prentenkabinet. Baarn 1994, p. 12-120.
  • Gerhard Jan Nauta, Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar, Bladzijde uit een prenten-plakboek, midden negentiende eeuw, in: Nelke Bartelings, Bram de Klerck, Eric Jan Sluijter, Uit het Leidse Prentenkabinet. Over tekeningen, prenten en foto’s, bij het afscheid van Anton Boschloo. Leiden 2001, p. 135-137.


The material of this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

The prints and drawings have been integrated into the general collections of drawings and prints.

Collection guide of the Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar collection (16th to 19th century)
Collectie Nicolaas Cornelis de Gijselaar
Jef Schaeps, 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857