Contrary to the games of crosse, golf and mail, by 1500 already, colvers were represented already in artistic expressions in the late Middle Ages and in the early Renaissance.
The earliest pictures of colvers can be found in the illuminated religious handwritten manuscripts from the County of Flanders, part of the Low Countries. Concentrated in the towns of Brugge (Bruges) and Gent (Gand) artists, such as, Simon Bening made books of hours in which sometimes colf players were included in the borders of full-folio religious paintings.
At the same time in the Duchy of Brabant the first paintings were made of colvers who were a kind of ‘staffing’ in religious paintings.
The centres of artistic culture were Antwerp(en) and Brussel(s). However the earliest ‘colf’ paintings were made by the famous painters Aert van de Bossche and Hieronymus Bosch, both originated from the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch). Later in the 16th century, the famous painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder produced the first paintings in which colvers are not part of a religious context but in a secular environment.
Please click here to see some of the earliest ‘colf’ paintings and illuminations.