Book chest of Hugo de Groot

anonymous, c. 1600 - c. 1615, NG-KOG-1208

Traditionally, it was in this case that Hugo de Groot escaped from Loevestein Castle in 1621. He had been serving a life sentence there since 1619. The internationally renowned jurist De Groot (Grotius) had been arrested in 1618 as a political opponent of Prince Maurice. After his escape, De Groot…

Cupboard

Herman Doomer, c. 1635 - c. 1645, furniture, BK-1975-81

Among the possessions left by cabinetmaker Herman Doomer of Amsterdam was a costly ‘large ebony cupboard inlaid with mother-of-pearl’. It was probably this piece of furniture, which is veneered entirely with ebony and decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay. With its diagonally protruding corners and…

Cabinet of a Militia Company

anonymous, c. 1520 - c. 1530, furniture, BK-KOG-656

Dolls’ house of Petronella Oortman

anonymous, c. 1686 - c. 1710, furniture, BK-NM-1010

The exterior of this dolls house is a work of art in its own right, with its mother-of-pearl and pewter veneer. The owners’ initials - Petronella Oortman and her husband Johannes Brandt, a cloth merchant in Amsterdam - are inlaid on both sides. Remarkably, all the domestic furnishings were made…

Desk

Abraham Roentgen, c. 1758 - c. 1760, BK-16676

This desk has numerous secret compartments and drawers and even includes a fold-out prie-dieu. It was made for Johann Philipp von Walderdorff, archbishop and elector of Trier, and is decorated at the top with his portrait and heraldic arms. The desk is the most expensive showpiece ever made by…

Dish Relief

Jan Schoonhoven, 1963, SK-A-5007

Although by the 1960s, artist Jan J. Schoonhoven was celebrated worldwide, he continued to work full-time for the Dutch Post Office (PTT). At first he used to make his characteristic white reliefs of squares and rectangles at night, on the kitchen table. Occasionally he tried other shapes. He showed…

Layette Cupboard

anonymous, c. 1660 - c. 1670, furniture, BK-1985-10

Flower, fruit and shell patterns are carved into the walnut veneer of this cupboard. It was designed to hold nappies (diapers) and babies’ clothes. Old inventories of lying-in rooms mention these cupboards. The Dutch term is: ‘luiermandskast’.

Armchair for Til Brugman

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, c. 1919, BK-2010-1

No Dutch piece of furniture has been acclaimed as much as this armchair, designed around 1918 by Gerrit Rietveld. In its red and blue colours - first applied around 1924 - the chair became an international design icon. In fact Rietveld’s small furniture workshop in Utrecht supplied the chair in…

Diorama of a Slave Dance

Gerrit Schouten, 1830, NG-2005-24

The scene in the dance tent is a ‘du’, a role-play event with music and dancing, held once every year on the plantations. Both players and audience were slaves. The main character was the ‘Afrankeri’, the narrator, left. The man in the red suit on the right is playing the king. Europeans in Suriname…

Stadtholder’s chair

Gerrit Hutte, 1747, BK-NM-1315

Willem IV sat on this chair when he presided over the high court in The Hague. The cabinetmaker who made it, Hutte, and Van Dijck, who carved it, chose an extreme Rococo style for this ceremonial chair. The back is crowned with the arms of Zeeland, Holland and West Friesland and the embroidered…