Jacques Bosch – Pasa Calle
Hans Meijer – French guitar
Jaime (Jacques) Bosch was a Catalan composer and guitar player who settled in Paris in 1852. He gave numerous concerts and performed in the private homes of a music-loving circle for which Manet seems to have orginized his engagements. He played indeed at Manet’s home, perhaps accomponied at the piano by madame Manet. Madame Paul Meurice wrote to Beaudelaire: Madame Manet played like an angel. Monsieur Bosch scratched his guitar like a treasure.
Bosch posed for his great friend, the painter Edouard Manet, for the figure of the two Mexican generals that appear in his painting The Execution of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico. Furthermore, the painter had illustrated the title page of one of his scores for the guitar in 1862: Plainte Moresque, dedicated ‘ à Mr Edouard Manet ’
Manet the painter was himself a friend of Bosch. Manet’s correspondence has several references to him: for example, to Mme Charpentier in 1873: “Madame, you can count on Pagans next Friday – Bosch, however, is not free but would be delighted to oblige another time.” To Zola at the same time: “Bosch is unable to go to the Charpentiers on Friday – he is dining out and has two evening receptions. He would be happy to go another time.” Poor Madame Charpentier! In another letter, Manet writes: “Madame, the guitarist Bosch asks me to convey his deep regret but he is not free on the evening of the 20th.”
Spanish things were important to Manet at this time: of Manet’s 15 oil paintings in 1860-61, six are on Spanish themes; but in 1862, of 18 paintings, no less than 15 are on Spanish themes. In 1865 he travelled to Spain.
Some people did not like Bosch. Evidently some people did, such as Madame Manet, and the writer of the description of the musical soirée mentioned above. In particular, Pedrell did, the Catalan musicologist. It was Pedrell who wrote a long article on Bosch in a Diccionario Biográfico published in Barcelona in 1897, which was taken up in most of its details by Domingo Prat in Prat’s own Diccionario. There are five letters now preserved in the Biblioteca de Catalunya in Barcelona, from Bosch in Paris to Pedrell in Barcelona, full of details about what was going on in Paris; it seems that Pedrell had asked Bosch to keep him informed. Pedrell said in his article that Bosch was “un artista de gran valia que honró dignamente su patria” and he also praised various works by Bosch.
ZALTBOMMEL CASTLE (Maarten van Rossum Castle)
Zaltbommel was an important town in the Middle Ages. It withstood various sieges by the Spanish during the Eighty Years’ War and was home to Maarten van Rossum, Charles, Duke of Guelders’ most notorious general and Zaltbommel’s most famous inhabitant. The Maarten van Rossum House provides an interesting insight into the town’s history.
The most important trading towns in the Middle Ages such as Tiel, Utrecht, Deventer and Nijmegen were located along the country’s main rivers: the Rhine, Maas and Waal. It was not until much later, from the 16th century onwards, that the towns and cities in the province of Holland took over. The first mention of Zaltbommel, known then as Bomela, dates from as early as 850. In 999, it was granted the right to charge a toll and the right to mint its own coins. From then on, it expanded into a major trading town and was rewarded in 1231 with its city rights.
Maarten van Rossum
The most famous inhabitant of Zaltbommel is undoubtedly Maarten van Rossum, who was born here in approximately 1478. Maarten van Rossum’s fame and notoriety stemmed from his time as general to Charles, Duke of Guelders, the last of the duchy´s dukes. During his service to the duchy, Van Rossum captured the city of Utrecht, plundered the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Holland, and even threatened The Hague and Antwerp. He owned several estates, including Cannenburgh Castle in Vaassen and the Duivelshuis (Devil’s House) in Arnhem. He commissioned a mansion in Zaltbommel in 1535, which now houses the Maarten van Rossum museum.
Eighty Years’ War
Forty years later, during the Eighty Years’ War, Zaltbommel was quick to choose the side of the Protestants and the House of Orange. That did not meet with the Spaniards’ approval of course, who proceeded to besiege the town in 1574 and in 1599. Nonetheless, the town stood firm. Zaltbommel has not grown excessively in the subsequent centuries and has managed to retain its mediaeval character as a result. A large section of the town walls are still standing, for example.