Dutch Landscape Fireplace

First Floor

Main Entrance and Reception Area

It is believed that this large room once had partitions and served as the Manor Hall’s kitchen and larder, or pantry. The fireplace located in the north wall is shallow, and exterior wall evidence indicates that a ‘Dutch oven’ or Dutch jambless hearth may have once been here. Often seen in Dutch paintings, jambless hearths were tall and shallow in depth, surrounded by large brick hearth floors which allowed space for cooking. Lacking sides, they were thought to disperse the heat more readily throughout the room, and made cooking over multiple small fires easier. The weight of the stone or brick chimney was supported almost entirely by the structural cross-beams of the building, and chimneys often narrowed significantly in attic spaces.

Black and white photo of a Dutch jambless fireplace with open hearth and cooking tools
Photograph of an extant jambless fireplace in the Beiver/Elting House on Huguenot Street in New Paltz, NY. Wikimedia Commons.

"Interior with a Family and Two Nurses before a Fire" by Cornelius de Man, c. 1670, Wikimedia Commons.

The above images illustrate jambless fireplaces. The lower painting by Cornelius de Man shows a Delft tiled fireplace with iron fireback and the fabric screenings that were often hung from the jambless mantel. This painting also illustrates how small the fires were in relation to the fireplace, and how close people could get to the heat - often nearly within the fireplace itself.

At some point, the fireplace opening was bricked in. During the 1911 American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society restoration, the closed fireplace was opened and blue and white Delft tiles with landscape designs were installed on the fire surround and back and strikingly geometric blue and white tiles on the fireplace floor.

Some of the Dutch pastoral landscape scenes depicted on the Delft blue tiles on the fireplace surround.