Fire and restoration
After Johan Maurits’s death in 1679, the Mauritshuis came into the possession of the Maes family, who had been his principal moneylender. They subsequently leased the house to the government.
In 1704 a catastrophe occurred: fire broke out in the building and the whole interior went up in flames. A drunken servant who was careless about tending the fires was probably to blame.
Fortunately, the decision was made to restore the palace. The Dutch state, which as leaseholder was partly responsible for the building, held a lottery to raise the necessary funds. Between 1708 and 1718 restoration proceeded by fits and starts. The layout remained the same, but the decoration and furnishings were adapted to suit 18th-century tastes.
The large hall on the ground floor – the Golden Hall – was lavishly decorated in a late Louis XIV style with much gilding. The walls and the ceiling were decorated with allegorical representations painted by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, a Venetian artist who happened to be in The Hague in search of work.