Antique traveling desk and its provenance. - 24Studio
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Antique traveling desk and its provenance.

We bought a beautiful antique traveling desk at an auction.

These desks are not uncommon but finding one that can be matched to a person, one that was of some importance in his time is another thing.
That being said, we cannot match the box to the person, but there are many coincidences.

We knew that the box had some hidden drawers because that was in the description of the lot but it took us some time to find them.
If you would like to know watch the video.

After finally revealing the hidden drawers of the antique travelling desk, we found some papers.

  • An almanac from 1859
  • A piece of paper from a supplier
  • A piece of paper with some notes.

All three pieces contain the same name of a person, G.H.V. Bolhuis or G.H van Bolhuis. ( ‘van’ meaning ‘from’ in Dutch )

The papers were hard to read because of the old way of writing but written was something like :

If you appreciate this size than I will …??? …

Waiting for your response … your servant Melfort.


And the other one :


V.Bolhuis family crest. Ferwerda, ???

?? crestbook of the 7 provinces. Leeuw. ( Leeuwarden, a city in Holland ) 1760.

Dr. Liegenbeck, in the ?? letterbode ( newspaper ) of …

Number 45 in the lifepossesion of H.V Bolhuis.


Now who was this G.H van Bolhuis ?

  • He must have had money, since these travelling desks were expensive.
  • He must have been born before 1859 and died after 1859.
  • He must have been at least 17 years old in the year of 1859.

With these criteria not many matches came forward, actually the first match is from Wikipedia, Gerrit Hugo van Bolhuis. Born in Breda, 16th of October and died in Utrecht 25th of July 1925.

He studied law in the university of Utrecht, where he started in 1859 !! ( maybe he bought the desk for his study? )Later he became a politician and was the president of the Higher Military Court. Decorated by the order of Oranje Nassau.

I know that a lot of people will react with several arguments like :

  • There could be multiple persons named G.H. van Bolhuis. This is true, and we will keep looking for others that fit the description and criteria.
  • Because the papers have a name that does not mean that the box belonged to him. Also true, but it is the closest we can get.

Wikipedia refers to archive of the city of Utrecht where you can find his image.



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