Warmond Castle in a Winter Landscape
Beerstraten specialised in wintry views of Dutch townscapes often incorporating Icy rivers and frosted trees beneath a leaden sky like this one. Although many of the villagers who skate, gossip, attend church and go about their daily tasks in the Walker’s picture might seem to be stock figures, none reappear in other known works by Beerstraten, apart from the back view of a man skating with one foot in the air. This painting was formerly thought to be related to the view of 'Nieukoop Church, near Woerden, in Winter' (Kunsthalle, Hamburg). However, in 1996 the castle in the Liverpool picture was identified by Wouter Kuyper as an accurate depiction of Huys te Warmont at the village of Warmond, north of Leiden. The castle was rebuilt in two stages in 1597 and 1629. The 1629 wing was designed by the Dutch classicist architect, Salomon de Bray, to incorporate elements of the old medieval castle, which had been partially destroyed during the Spanish siege of Leiden in 1574 and can be seen in the painting in front of the older, taller chimnied wing.