About the artist
Herman Frederik Carel, or Herman ten Kate, the Elder (16 February 1822 – 26 March 1891) was a Dutch artist known for his paintings, drawings, and prints. He was notable as a teacher, and renowned for his watercolours and paintings of historical genre with emphasis on military figures. His contemporary artists who also followed on the same genre of paintings were David Bles, Alexander Hugo Bakker Korff and Charles Rochussen.He received royal patronage under King William III of the Netherlands.
He was born in The Hague on 16 February 1822, the son of Jan Herman ten Kate (1789–1860), and Johanna Henriette Adriana de Witte van Haemstede (1792–1858). He was a student of Cornelis Kruseman from 1837 and 1841. After his education he traveled to Belgium, Germany, Italy and France, during 1841–42. In Paris, Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier advised him on his painting. On his return from his travels, he studied in the Municipal Academy (1842) and at the Royal Academy of Art (1841–1842)
His career started in 1837. Some of Ten Kate's paintings, which were very popular with the public, depicted interior scenes of guard rooms with Spanish or Dutch soldiers in uniform. His colouring was rich, and his brushwork was careful. Ten Kate's paintings were exhibited in the museums in The Hague (1867, 1869), Belgium, Germany, Italy, France (1840-1841), Amsterdam (1868), and Haarlem. He was Director of The Academy of Arts (1860s). During wartime, there was a decline in the sale of his military themed art work so he shifted his emphasis to landscape paintings. His art work titled Un counseil deguerre sold in June 1870 but his next painting didn't sell until February 1872.
H.F.C. ten Kate was famous in his time for his historic genre scenes of military drinking or playing cards. He also painted various events from the 80 Years War, when the Dutch revolt against the Spanish. The painter favoured the art of watercolour, of which in the fine treatment of detail or the precise placing of red and blue colour accents he was the consummate master. The interest for history and making references to 17th century Holland was a typical 19th century phenomenon. Johannes Bosboom, for instance, staffaged his paintings with figures in 17th century dress. After 1850 Ten Kate painted Rococo scenes and national historic events.