About Cobi Witsen

Cobi is the sister of painter, etcher, photographer Willem Witsen and Anna Witsen. Their mother dies in 1873. Together with her family Cobi lives from 1881 on Ewijkshoeve. Her best friend Jacoba Suzanna Muller (Coba), who lost her family at a very young age stays with them as well.

Ink on paper

From 1885 Willem Bastiaan Tholen is invited by brother Willem to visit Ewijkshoeve. Tholen falls in love with Coba with whom he will be married in 1886. From then the Arntzenius family and Tholen live together in a house in The Hague. At the beginning of 1890, Tholen and his wife Coba Muller move to the top floor of the so-called ‘Kanaalvilla’ near the Witte Brug in The Hague. It is the location of Madurodam today.

J.J. Witsen and Cobi Arntzenius-Witsen in the garden in front of Ewijkshoeve, Photo: Willem Witsen, 
gelatin silver print on photo paper on cardboard, date ca. 1860 - ca. 1915

J.J. Witsen and Cobi Arntzenius-Witsen in the garden in front of Ewijkshoeve,
Photo: Willem Witsen, gelatin silver print on photo paper on cardboard, date ca. 1860 – ca. 1915

The lower floor at that time is occupied by the clerk of the House of Representatives, Abraham Robert (Bram) Arntzenius (1850-1929) and his young family: Robert (1879), Liesbeth (born 1881), Dora (born 1882) and the triplet Paul , Peronne and Constance (born 1883). Arntzenius wife jkvr. Constance Boddaert (1857-1883) dies after the triplets were born. In 1885 Arntzenius remarries to the best friend of Tholens wife Coba: Cobi. Cobi Witsen now becomes the stepmother of the Arntzenius children, who are often painted by Willem Bastiaan Tholen.

Cobi Witsen
Photo: Emil Richard Huth,
gelatin silver print on photo paper on cardboard, date ca. 1860 – ca. 1915