Eelke Jelles Eelkema

Work and life of Eelke Jelles Eelkema, 1788-1839

The life of Eelke Eelkema

Eelke was born in Leeuwarden on July 8. 1788. At the age of seven, Eelke contracted an illness that rendered him deaf and at the age of 11 he was sent to the Deaf Institute in Groningen. Eelke stayed here until he was 19 years old. Here, Eelke received drawing lessons from G. de Stan and painting lessons from J.N. Schoonbeek. He became an artist, draughtsman, restorer and drawing teacher.

At the age of 16, 1804, Eelke won the first prize of the Minerva Academy. His work was highly praised. Eelke himself taught painting and drawing at the Franeker Atheneum, among others to Cornelis Bernardus Buijs (who in turn taught Jozef Israels) and to Taco Mesdag, Hendrik Willem Mesdag’s older brother.

In 1816 Eelke left with a royal grant for Paris from where, in 1818, he embarked on a foot journey to the Auvergne, Martigny in Switzerland and Turin in Italy. Eelke also went to London, Haarlem and Amsterdam for studies.

After Eelke also became blind in 1835, he stopped painting. Eelke died in Leeuwarden on 17 November 1839. He never married.

The work of Eelke Jelles Eelkema

Eelke painted landscapes and still lifes of flowers and fruit.
In 1830, Eelke published a booklet from Mansion in French.
This booklet is called ‘Thorough instruction in the art of drawing and painting, particularly in miniature, for the benefit of young artists’.

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