The history: first public collection
In 1774, William V had a room built especially for his collection of paintings: the Gallery. There he could display the extravagance and opulence of his collection. That same year, he opened his gallery to visitors, making his collection the first public collection in the Netherlands. These paintings later formed the core of the collection at the Mauritshuis, among others.
Former splendour reinstated
With the arrival of Napoleon’s troops in 1795, the Gallery lost its original function for a great many years. Only in 1977 could paintings once more be seen there, and then only until the museum closed it doors again a few years ago, this time for extensive restoration.
The Gallery has now been restored to its formed splendour, although it is not a faithful reconstruction since the original layout has not survived. But we do know how an eighteenth-century gallery would have been arranged: lots of paintings hung close to one another and as densely as possible. In this way, the prince’s collection could be shown to best advantage.