New highlights every day from TEFAF Maastricht
(1690–1710), The Netherlands and China
Fans of Jessie Burton’s 2014 novel The Miniaturist and of the doll’s house that inspired it, by Petronella Oortman in the Rijksmuseum, will relish this offering. The Dutch tradition of creating a doll’s house began around 1650 and continued until the mid 18th century. Only five have survived from this period, all in museums. They were no childish playthings, but costly hobbies for patrician wives – akin to their husbands’ cabinets of curiosities – for which craftsmen were commissioned to provide exacting miniatures of the latest furniture, silver, porcelain, glassware and art, alongside the likes of workday baskets. They provide us with fascinating evidence of life in the Dutch Republic. This example contains a collection of almost 200 17th-century silver miniatures assembled over the last 25 years; some are rare, others unique. The Chinese porcelain is Kangxi of around 1700, the same date as the fabrics in the drying attic, and the tiny drawings are attributed to Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen. The whole has been installed in a Dutch kruisvoet cabinet adapted to contain, like Oortman’s celebrated house, nine rooms.