SKETCHBOOK FROM THE 1800s: Drawings by Gerrit Siersema, Johannes Elto Siersema

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These are scans of a sketchbook belonging to my great-great-grandfather, Gerrit Siersema, who was born on the 14th of June in 1864 in Groningen, Netherlands, and was named after his grandfather, who was an artist.

The text on the front says, “Teekenboek van G. Siersema. 3 Sept 1875. M. Smit, Groningen.” Teekenboek means ‘drawing book.’ For being so old, the pages are held together quite well by string.

In the book are two loose sheets dated 1885 with the signature J E Siersema, indicating they were likely drawn by Gerrit’s brother Johannes Elto Siersema, who was born in about 1870. Nearly identical sketches can be found bound in the book, but they are clearly drawn in different styles. In my mind, I like to picture the brothers sketching together how many brothers nowadays might sit around and watch TV.

My distant cousin Anje also pointed out that some of the sketches are of the Lichtenberg ruins, which were likely copied from a book, since the journey from where Gerrit and Johannes lived would have been long and expensive in those days. (Note: The second image down on the webpage that the link above leads to looks extremely similar to the sketches.)

I have a feeling the camel and other animals may also have been copied from a book, unless they visited a zoo.

Also, here’s a link from Anje of photos of ruin that inspired the gate sketch.