Archie Baird, a British golf collector and legend, and a lifetime member of the British Golf Collection Association, believes that modern golf in Scotland may have originated from Kolf, which prevailed in the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries. Archie Baird’s point of view is based on the many oil paintings left by the Dutch landscape masters in the 17th century. The oil paintings on the frozen river play and entertainment, including the scene of Kolf.
The Dutch Kolf appeared in the late 13th century, and people used a stick (or Colf or Kolf) on land or ice to hit a leather ball. The purpose of the shot is to match the ball to the pre-set goal, not to enter the hole. Kolf’s written records can be traced back to 1296, and are also common in early Dutch landscape paintings.
On May 20, 2019, during the annual meeting of the British Golf Collectors Association, I was fortunate to visit the Hill of Tarvit, 10 miles southwest of St. Andrews, Scotland, and studied the private collection of the original owner Frederick Sharp. His many early 17th century Dutch winter landscape paintings.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Scottish yellow linen manufacturer and railway tycoon Frederick Sharp (1862-1932) bought the Hill of Tarvit. The main building of the villa was converted into a Tarvit Mansion in 1906.
Hill of Tarvit is located 1.5 miles south of Cooper, in the Fife district of Scotland. The estate covers an area of 1.29 square kilometers, of which 0.16 square kilometers are gardens, and the rest are parks, farmland, forests and 9-hole golf courses. It takes only 15 minutes by taxi from St. Andrews to the mountain and about 25 minutes by bus.
Frederick Sharp is an amateur golfer who was elected to the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in 1891 and is a member of the Membership Management Committee and Rules Committee. There are two reasons for choosing a mountain home. First, he can easily take a train from Cooper to his company in the city of Dijon. Second, the mountain is close to St. Andrews and the Royal Ancient Golf Club, satisfying his amateur golf. activity. In 1924, in order to make it easier to play, Frederick Sharp and his son built a 9-hole golf course on the open space south of the manor, often inviting friends to visit and play on holidays. Frederick Sharp died in 1932, and five years later his son was unfortunately killed in a train accident. During the Second World War, the stadium was requisitioned by the government to cultivate land and provide food for the front line. After World War II, Frederick Sharp’s wife and daughter passed away, and the daughter donated the property to the Scottish National Trust before her daughter died.
Since 2002, Scottish businessman and golf enthusiast David Anderson has revived an old stadium that has been sleeping for more than 70 years after six years of hard work. It was officially opened to the public in June 2008. Kingarrock Hickory Golf is thus the only golf course in the world that can only play with walnut antiques. In October 2014, the stadium returned to the Foundation Management.
As a golf enthusiast, Frederick Sharp has collected 11 famous landscape paintings of the 17th century Dutchman who played Kolf in the early days, far more than any famous golf museum or private collection in the world. These paintings demonstrate the consensus of many golf historians that modern golf in Scotland is likely to originate in Kolf in the Netherlands.
Of Frederick Sharp’s 11 Dutch landscapes, one is suspended from the study on the first floor, three are suspended in the living room on the second floor, and seven are suspended from the corridor on the second floor.
Hendrick Avercamp, a famous Dutch winter landscape artist, was born in Amsterdam in 1585. Hendrick Avercamp was young and deaf, studied painting with the Dutch portrait master Pieter Isaacks. After he was a teacher, he specialized in the drawing of Dutch winter landscapes in Kampen. The paintings were colorful and created with the theme of winter characters on the snow-covered river. Many popular paintings became the first Dutch school landscape painter in the 17th century, and the art world called him “silent Kampen.” Many of Hendrick Avercamp’s oil paintings are based on photo watercolors. At that time, the Netherlands had just established a republic, and the paintings of the Republic and the outdoor entertainment and life paintings described by him were popular among Dutch patriots.
Hendrick Avercamp’s “Winter Landscape”, also known as “Dutch Ice-Scene with Golfer in the Foreground” and “View of a Walled Fort with Figures Playing on Ice.” The painting is drawn on a wooden board.
The painting depicts an icy river that bypasses a house on the left and leads to the left side of a castle with a high wall in the distance. The towers in the castle are combined with the sky, and the banks of the river are dotted with frozen vessels. There are many men, women and children on the ice to entertain, play or walk on the ice. The characters continue to the end of the river in the distance. From the dress of the characters in the painting, they represent the various classes of the Netherlands in the early 17th century.
On the left side of the painting, a boy is blowing his nose and watching two people playing Kolf. On the right side of their right, stood two noble gentlemen and a lady with sunglasses, on the right side, another man playing Kolf. Above these few people, four men are watching a person who is playing Kolf.
The painting and two other paintings by Frederick Sharp about Kolf were purchased by an art dealer in 1909, and the payment receipts were fortunately preserved.
Hendrick Avercamp pioneered the winter landscape in the north of the Netherlands. The following two works by Frederick Sharp’s Hendrick Avercamp draw a winter landscape with similar scenes, with Kolf characters in each painting.
Barent Avercamp is the nephew of Hendrick Avercamp, who studied painting with his uncle in his early years and was influenced by the winter landscape paintings of Hendrick Avercamp in the Netherlands. His canvas painting depicts the work, life and entertainment of people in the winter in the north of the Netherlands. The painting is based on the gloomy weather of winter, where people on the left bank and on the bridge watch the ice for various games. On the right side of the painting, two people wearing high hats are playing Kolf. The player on the far right facing the audience holds the club and watches the partner hit the ball.
This wood-panel painting by David Vinckboons describes the scenery of the Dutch winter after the snow. An ice-filled river extends from the left to the depth of the painting. On the right is a farmhouse situated between two nodule trees. The roof of the house was covered with snow. The left bank of the river is a village and church. The characters on the ice are walking or skating, two people in the lower left corner are playing Kolf, a boy is watching. Although Christie’s believes that the author of the painting is David Vinckboons, some professionals believe that because the picture depicts fewer people and the background of the sky is lower, it may be done by Esaias Van de Velde, a student of David Vinckboons.
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