H.N. Sieburgh

Hubertus Nicolaas Sieburgh (1799-1842) was born in Haarlem. His father wanted him to become a wine trader. However, having an inclination for the arts and sciences, Sieburgh decided to follow his own path and become a painter. Although he did not receive formal education, his friendship with the renowned Dutch painter Cornelis Kruseman helped him to develop his skills. In 1836, at the age of 38, he set sail to Java to discover and document on canvas the remains of its ancient culture. The Netherlands Indies government permitted him to undertake an art tour through the territory. His first visit was to Borobudur, where he completed twelve paintings, drawings and sketches in the space of three months. Later, in 1840, he travelled further east, and also to Singosari. He was forced to return to Batavia after four years because his finances were exhausted. The government was impressed by his work and offered him a modest contract so that he could finish his work. Before he could do so he died, in Cheribon (Cirebon), at the age of 42. For more information: see Jean Victor de Bruijn, 1937, H.N. Sieburgh en zijn beteekenis voor de Javaansche oudheidkunde.