Who We Are

An introduction

The Iconographer is an art gallery specialising in traditional European art, with a particular emphasis on Dutch and British works of art. The gallery is based in the historic Ursuline Convent of Eijsden, a palatial Neo-Renaissance building designed in part by Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921), Johannes Kayser (1842-1917) and Jan Jorna (1854-1927).

The gallery is run by Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn, an art historian with extensive experience in researching, handling, and advising on art. He is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art (2018) and a board member of the International Qajar Studies Association (IQSA).  

The gallery’s stock, carefully and expertly put together, ranges from oil paintings (When the Moon Shines) and watercolour drawings (The Rescue of the Crew of the Helen) to engraved portraits (this posthumous portrait of Adam Sasbout) and aristocratic heirlooms (The Frymerson Spoon). 

The Ursuline Convent in Eijsden, home to our art collection


A previously unknown miniature portrait of Cecilia Maria Barthelemon (1767-1859), discovered by Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn in July 2021.


The gallery is unashamedly academic in its research and activities and we are building a reputation for (re)discovering significant and meaningful artworks. We are in the process of restoring artworks made by first-rate painters such as Anthonie Palamedesz (1601-1673), Jordanus Hoorn (1753-1833) and Antoon van Welie (1866-1956). 

Currently we are exhibiting our most recent discoveries: two portraits of the celebrated musician and composer Cecilia Maria Barthelemon (1767-1859), of whom no portraits were previously known. Although these are not for sale at the moment, a booklet with information about them can be purchased in our Books section (*for now only available in Dutch*).  


Why art matters to me

It is fashionable to be an iconoclast: after all, it is all too easy to destroy things. It is much nobler (and much more rebellious) to be an iconographer, someone who makes things of enduring value. Things that will be passed from generation to generation because they provide meaning and beauty in a chaotic world. 

One such work is the altarpiece of the Last Judgment which my ancestor (via his illegitimate and only daughter, Marijtje) Lucas van Leyden painted circa 1526-27. This monumental triptych, which shows heaven on the left and hell on the right, only survived because people were prepared to lay down their lives for it in a time which saw the Iconoclastic Fury sweep through the Low Countries. It is a profound work of art that meant something to people then, just as it means something to me now. 

Great art from the past can inspire great art of the future. It can also moralise us when times are tough, and motivate us to accomplish great things. For this reason I have been in search of beautiful art: misattributed landscapes, unidentified portraits, lost masterpieces. I write about these artworks and I occasionally put my discoveries on sale. These are works of the highest quality and often tell intriguing stories. You may find these in The Collection

The Last Judgment by Lucas van Leyden, dwarfing me. It is a picture best appreciated in the flesh. You can go see it, and many other wonderful works, in Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden. Photograph taken in June 2020.

The Importance of Patronage

The art collector Christiaan Bernet (1770-1832), maternal uncle of my fourth great-grandfather Stephanus Christiaan van Waalwijk van Doorn. He also recognised the importance of supporting living artists and commissioned the young Petrus van Schendel (1806-1870) to make portraits of his entire family.

Artists are only half of the equation. Great art needs someone to sponsor it and to preserve it. As we live in a time when museums are de-accessioning important artworks and companies get permission to demolish our architectural heritage (I think of the wonderful Church  of St. Lambertus in Immerath that was brutally taken down in 2018 in order to mine the brown coal underneath) the role of the private art collector becomes more and more important again. Putting together an art collection is exhilarating but challenging. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about starting your own art collection, so feel free to contact me. 

Collectors with a vision can leave a real mark on the world. They can purchase works that are central to the story of our civilisation and preserve them for future generations. To own an artwork is to form an unbroken link with past collectors. It allows you to bridge the centuries and become part of history. 

However, art should be for everyone, regardless of background or financial resources. Academic jargon and high prices should never stand in the way of enjoying art. That is why I host a regular show on YouTube in which I bring the art world to you. If you have any art historical questions, you can send them to me and I might answer them there. Together we can change the art world and make art matter again!


Discover Our Collection

Maid Reading the Newspaper

A particularly fine watercolour painting by artist Eduard Gustaaf Schalbroeck 

Philip the Apostle

A striking early 17th-century engraving by Friesian artist Schelte A. Bolwsert 

When the Moon Shines 

Rare painting by artist & aristocrat Jacob Jan Julius Storm van ‘s-Gravensande 

The Frymerson Spoon 

Heirloom of the Obbema family from the collection of the aristocratic De Zantis de Frymerson family of Castle Sint Odiliënberg