History & Genealogy

Glazier & Painter

The Le Nobels were also not without merit in art. On January 7, 1866, a young man was born in Middelburg, Jacobus Willem le Nobel. Early in his youth he was interested in drawing. Eventually he became known as a prominent glazier.

A glazier is an artist who makes artistic glass objects that can be placed in a building like a window. A glazier designs and creates stained glass panes or stained glass for, among other things, church buildings. Jacobus also made his windows and glasses for municipalities, companies or private individuals. A glazier is sometimes also called glass artist.

Jacobus was a son of Adrianus Willem le Nobel, manufacturer in Middelburg and Anna Maria of the Chamber. As an 18-year-old he worked in the trade in Congo, but he had to return to the Netherlands because of tropical diseases. He attended the Academy for Visual Arts in Rotterdam and obtained the drawing certificate at the Rijksschool voor Kunstnijverheid Amsterdam. Because he wanted to be a painter, he went to Paris where he made stage decors. He returned to the Netherlands again when he was appointed as manager and draftsman at the Koninklijke Nederlandsche Glasfabriek J.J.B.J. Bouvy in Dordrecht.

In 1893 he married Adriana Spel and together they had 3 children, Anna Maria Adriana (b.1894), Johannes (Jan) Adrianus Jacobus (born 1895-1979) and Adriana Jacoba (born 1899). He earns a living as draftsman / glass etcher in Rotterdam and in 1896 he starts a company with a draftsman Gerrit David Labots under the company name "Le Nobel and Labots". Things went so well that they also opened a branch at the Overtoom in Amsterdam. Jacobus mainly did this establishment, which soon began to outwit the Rotterdam business. In 1903 the company was dissolved and both partners continued the company under their own name, each in their own place. Labots in Rotterdam and le Nobel in Amsterdam. At some point 'Atelier le Nobel' moved to the Kerkstraat in Amsterdam and gained national fame.

Jacobus came into contact with the architect Joseph Cuypers, who supervised the construction of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 1905 he commissioned Cuypers to design stained-glass windows for the Rijksmuseum, with weapons from founders and donors from the museum. In the 'Atelier Le Nobel', designs by others were also made and, in addition to windows, lamps in the style of the Amsterdam School were also made.

Jacobus le Nobel was prominent in his field. The architect Cuypers was co-organizer of the course Secondary and Higher Architecture Onderzicht, to which Jacobus was connected in 1908-1909 and 1912-1913 as a lecturer in glass painting. In the magazine "Architectura" he published in 1911, on request, a series of articles about his profession (now also in any case worth reading). Jacobus is described as a calm, very honest man who was obsessed with his profession / art and who only wanted to deliver top quality.

In about 1921 the glass workshop moved to the Gedempte Oude Gracht in Haarlem. Later they settle at the Wilsonplein. His son Jan and his youngest daughter Adriana worked at Jacobus in the business. On December 29, 1924 Jacobus, 58 years old, dies. His son continues the business, but hardly designed himself. In 1929 Frans Balendong (1911-1998) joined the glass studio 'le Nobel'. Here he designed, among other things, the windows of Vroom and Dreesman in Haarlem. Until 1932 he remained in the service of 'le Nobel'. Frans was not only a glazier but also a sculptor. He then opened a shop in religious art and started his own studio in Haarlem.

The crisis of the 1930s (the biggest economic depression of the twentieth century) means that fewer and fewer orders are coming in and it goes downhill with the business. In 1940, the Netherlands also became involved in the Second World War. During these years of war, Jan and Adriana le Nobel stopped the business and sold the property. Only after the Second World War would the Dutch economy actually flourish.