At Prinsenstraat 67, a narrow and busy street in Dordrecht, I found this interesting listed monument RM522326.
According to the description of the monument, the object was built in 1900; No architect is mentioned.
But… I recently learned that the Prinsenstraat was built in the 17th century, so it could very well be that only the Art Nouveau facade was added in 1900. After all, from 1900 onward, modern shops started to take over the functions of street- and market trade. Industrialisation led to mass production, and mass production led to a thriving retail sector. Specially in the inner-cities, complete streets converted their domestic-houses into residential-shops (shop downstairs, living quarters upstairs). The facade became like a business-card of the shop, preferably in the style that was ‘hot’ at that moment! This is the reason why around 1900 many facades have been replaced. More often though, only the shop front was replaced and the facade of the ground floor no longer matches the architecture of the rest of the building.
The facade of the Prinsenstraat 67 however appears to have one overall design style; the ground floor is decorated with a segmentally arched shopfront in stone and glass, and a twisted rod (I have seen this twisted rod on more of the Art Nouveau buildings that I have recently photographed, so I’ll need to find out whether this is typical for this era or not).
The stone arch has a keystone in the middle, with the monogram J v d R. It also reads the word ‘Vleeschhouwerij’ in golden letters. ‘Vleeschhouwerij’ is old Dutch, meaning Butchery. The city archives confirm that a certain mr. J.C. van der Rest requested a permit in 1901, to slaughter cattle.
What makes this such an interesting building, compared to many other Art Nouveau buildings in Dordrecht, are the details: at the left side of the building, in the ironwork on the double wooden doors, there are two butcher’s axes! Also, in between the shop window and the door jamb, there’s an ox head! If you’d ask me, this is exactly what Art Nouveau was supposed to be like as the philosophy behind Art Nouveau was based on the idea that art should be everywhere. Art should not be enjoyed by only a few, privileged and rich people; is should be surrounding ordinary people in their everyday lives. That is why Art Nouveau is called a ‘Total Style’ and includes not only architecture, but also interior design, decorative arts (including jewellery, furniture, textiles, household silver and lighting) and visual arts.
Also the first floor and the window of the garret have been beautifully decorated with colourful brickwork and Art Nouveau stucco frames.
I think this building is a little gem that deserves to be saved for future generations but unfortunately, at the moment, it appears like it is being used by someone who doesn’t really appreciate the beauty of it. Let’s just hope that the responsible people realise the historical value of this property, before the damage is beyond repair, and the beautiful architecture is lost forever…