Enquiry about object: 6684

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    Batavian Silver Filigree & Gilt Needle Case or Etui

    Batavia, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia today)
    circa 1700

    length: 10cm, diameter: 1.6cm, weight: 45g



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This superb needle case comprises a gilded (gold plated) silver cannister over which the finest silver filigree has been applied arrayed as floral scrolls over the entire cannister. The contrast between the (white) silver filigree and the yellow of the gold underneath is particularly pleasing.

    The case pulls apart with the two parts fitting together very well and tightly.

    Elaborate and expensive needle cases such as these were made in the 17th and early 18th centuries because steel needles themselves were considered luxury goods and were expensive to buy.

    Importantly, this needle case is the same work and indeed must be from the same maker as a small lidded box that was on loan to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and attributed to Batavia around 1700. That box is illustrated in Corrigan et al (2015, p. 98). The box belonged to Petronella van Hoorn (1698-1764) who returned to Amsterdam from Java in 1710. It remained with her descendants until recently.

    That box appears to be the same box formed part of a lot subsequently sold at Christie’s London in 2017. And in 2016, Sotheby’s sold a rectangular box with similar work that was incorrectly catalogued as Indo-Portuguese India and attributed to the 17th-18th century.

    Petronella van Hoorn divided her year between Rosendael Castle near Arnhem, and her home in Amsterdam, on her return to the Netherlands from Java. It is believed that Petronella had other items in her filigree collection but the whereabouts of these is not known.

    The needle case here is in excellent condition.


    Corrigan, K., J. van Campen, & F. Diercks (eds.), Asian in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age, Peabody Essex Museum/Rijksmuseum, 2015.

    Zandvlieyt, K. et al, The Dutch Encounter with Asia 1600-1950, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2002.

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