In 1886, Paul Tetar van Elven asked Abraham Gips, his colleague (and later successor) at the Polytechnic School in Delft, to design a decorative ceiling for his living room. Gips painted his design in oils on paper, and this was then attached to the ceiling. Such a ceiling is unique in a private house in the Netherlands, but it is likely that Paul was already considering the idea that his house would be a museum in the future. He had the names of Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Rubens, Michelangelo etc. incorporated into the ceiling design; all the great artists whom he admired and copied.

Due to the choice of material, the ceiling is extremely fragile. Just before the Corona pandemic struck, it was apparent that some sections of the paper were coming away from the ceiling, despite a previous restoration in 1996.  

“During the pandemic, a plan of action was drawn up, funds were secured and the work began in October 2022. The restoration took around 6 weeks and during this period the museum remained open. Visitors were able to observe the restorers at work on scaffolding in the Salon; and the contents of this room were moved temporarily to the Purple Room.

The restoration was carried out by:

Willianne van der Sar (Color & Conservation)

Maurice Steemers (Enkzicht Restauratieatelier)

Johanneke Verhave (Restauratieatelier Rotterdam).


The restoration was financially possible thanks to:

Het vermogensfonds, Fonds 1818, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Van der Mandele Stichting and Dr Hendrik Mullerfonds and also donations from visitors.