Ypres, Belgium

Shelled 1914-1918

The Disappointed Tourist: Lakenhal, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Cloth Hall (Dutch: Lakenhal/Lakenhalle) is a medieval building which served as a market and warehouse for Ypres’ cloth industry. The original structure end erected mainly in the 13th century and completed in 1304. The hall was destroyed, along with most of the city, by artillery fire in World War I. Between 1933 and 1967, the hall was meticulously reconstructed to its prewar condition. The building was rebuilt between 1933 and 1967 by architects J. Coomans and P. A. Pauwels. The triennial Cat Parade commemorates the fact in medieval times, cats were thrown off the hall, possibly in order to symbolize the repudiation of the devil. The painting is based on a c.1860 photograph from Wikipedia.

I believe the British Ypres League wanted to keep the ruins as a memorial but I would rather have seen the original. It feels strange to see a reconstruction. Anon.