Skip to content


Original price £600.00 - Original price £600.00
Original price
£600.00 - £600.00
Current price £600.00

[Drowning]: Placaat. De Staaten van Holland en Westfriesland [...] Doen te weeten: Alsoo Wy in ervaring zyn gekoomen / dat veele van Onse goede Ingezeetenen / wanneer eenig Persoon uit het Water opgehaald wordende geen Teekens van leeven geeft... In ‘s Gravenhage, By Isaac Scheltus [...] 1769. Met Privilegie.  

This well-preserved eighteenth-century Dutch broadside provides instructions on how to resuscitate individuals who have nearly drowned, and is notable for surviving with the original printed sleeve for distribution. Comparable documents are rare (though we note for example STCN 420876154), and it throws interesting light on the logistical process of disseminating such ephemera.

The printed note on the sleeve, which is not addressed to a specific individual, states it contains the usual number of copies (het gewoone getal Exemplaaren), with the understanding that they be posted up where they belong (affigeeren daar het behoord, with affigeeren here presumably an archaic form of afficheren). The copy surviving here was apparently surplus to such requirements. 

The sleeve bears the signature of C. Clotterbooke, the same official representing the States of Holland and Westfriesland who is named on the broadside. There is offsetting on the front apparently from another copy of exactly same sleeve, perhaps suggesting that exemplars were sent out in small batches to various people responsible for their dissemination.

For comparison, though writing about seventeenth- rather than eighteenth-century broadsheets in the Dutch Republic, Arthur der Weduwen suggests ‘it is likely that most broadsheets were simply delivered to the city council for non-commercial distribution’ (2017, p. 265).

The broadside itself is associated with the Maatschappij tot redding van Drenkelingen (Society for the rescue of drowning people), and was printed two years after their founding in 1767. Still in existence today, it is ‘the first organisation to have been involved in the resuscitation of drowning people’ (Heldring 2006, p. 3). 

Some of the life-saving techniques seem surprising and indeed startling to a modern audience, especially the advice to give a smoke enema to the convalescent. A contemporary ‘Tabaks-klisteerspuit’ can be found in Museum Rotterdam (cf. discussion by Jan Pelsdonk, 2022).


Broadside, approx. 42 x 32 cms. Printed on one side only. Three columns of text separated by two vertical rules. Decorative initial and woodcut emblem (oval ornament depicting lion rampant with sword amidst various heraldic shields). Untrimmed. Together with the original paper sleeve, i.e. a bifolium with printed instructions for distribution and signature of C. Clotterbooke on fol. [1r]. Faint offsetting in mirror image, apparently from another copy of the same sleeve. Laid flat, it is the same size as the broadside. 

Condition: fold lines, very light browning and staining to paper, very small loss to blank outer margin of broadside. 


Not in OCLC, STCN, or The text of the Placaat was known to J. A. Kool in 1854 and appears as no. 40 in his Geschiedkundige beschouwing van de Maatschappij tot redding van Drenkelingen te Amsterdam (Amsterdam: J de Ruijter, 1854), pp. 57-58. 
Heldring, Balt, ‘Brief History of Maatschappij tot Redding van Drenkelingen (The Society to Rescue People from Drowning)’, in Joost J. L. M. Bierens (ed.) Drowning: Prevention, Rescue, Treatment (Berlin: Springer, 2006), pp. 3–5.

Pelsdonk, Jan, ‘De tabaks-klisteerspuit, de Uitlegger en de verdwenen dukaat’, in Pelsdonk, Coronaletters: Een verzameling van 114 blogs over de numismatische collectie van Teylers Museum (Haarlem, 2022), accessible via

Der Weduwen, Arthur, ‘”Everyone has hereby been warned.” The Structure and Typography of Broadsheet Ordinances and Communication of Governance in the Early Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic’, in Andrew Pettegree (ed.), Broadsheets: Single-sheet Publishing in the First Age of Print (Leiden, Brill, 2017), pp. 240-67.