About Jonas Jan Witsen

Jonas Jan Witsen was born on February 26, 1819 in Nieuwer-Amstel (= Amstelveen). He was a merchant in iron. When he is 30 years old, he marries Jacoba Elisabeth Bonekamp on September 14, 1848 in Amsterdam.

Ink on paper

Together with Jacoba they get nine children, of which three die at a very young age. The youngest one is Willem, the famous painter, etcher and photographer. Daughter Anna wanted to be a professional soprano singer, but unfortunately her fate was not favorable to her.
> Jonas Jacobus Witsen
> Jacoba Helena E. Witsen (Cobi)
> Karel Witsen
> Anna Agnes Witsen
> Hendrik Maurits Witsen
> Willem Arnold Witsen

J.J. Witsen, photo by Willem Witsen
gelatin silver print on photo paper on cardboard

Jonas Jan lost his wife in 1873 and his son Karel died in 1879 in Batavia. He decides to exchange Amsterdam for Ewijkshoeve and lives there with his daughters Cobi and Anna, with his son Willem and with Cobi’s best friend Coba Muller.

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

When all of them -except for Anna- leave the place after marriage, he stays behind, struggling with Anna’s psychological situation and when she drowns herself in the pond behind the house in 1889, it must have felt as a very dark and lonely place for mr. Witsen.