Blue Macaw

Meissener Porzellan Manufaktur, 1731, BK-17496

German scientists discovered the ingredients of Chinese porcelain in the 18th century. Elector August the Strong was such a fan of this hard, translucent white material that he filled his Japanese Palace in Dresden with porcelain objects. In the 1730s, he had a series of large birds and animals…

Seated Cupid

Étienne-Maurice Falconet, 1757, BK-1963-101

This famous statue already had many nicknames in the 18th century. Perhaps the best known is l’amour menaçant - menacing love. The menace is mainly in the love god’s expression, while his gesture makes us complicit, through silence. The statue was carved for Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV…

Portrait of a Member of the Van der…

Cornelis Troost, 1736, painting, SK-A-3948

The portrait conveys a sense of convivial hospitality, as if the man were inviting us into his home to enjoy his art and music. In a typically 18th-century way, the portrait has no sense of distance, of authority. It introduces us directly to the open personality of this enthusiastic young member of…

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…

The Art Gallery of Jan…

Adriaan de Lelie, 1794 - 1795, painting, SK-A-4100

In 1792, Gildemeester, a merchant, turned two large rooms at his house on Amsterdam’s Herengracht into an art gallery. Here he stands proudly at the centre of the front room, speaking with one of his guests. Visitors are examining famous paintings, including a Rembrandt - above Gildemeester’s head.…

A Dutch Merchant, Possibly Andreas…

Chitqua (attributed to), c. 1770, figure, BK-1976-49

Van Braam Houckgeest ran the Dutch East India Company (VOC) base in Canton harbour in south China from 1790 to 1795. He may have commissioned this figure of himself on a previous journey in China. Chinese sculptor Chitqua specialised in this kind of clay portrait, mainly for foreigners. Similar…

Haarlem reception room 1794

Abraham van der Hart, c. 1793 - c. 1795, BK-15613

This interior is from the home of merchant and art collector Willem Philip Kops, at Nieuwe Gracht 74 in Haarlem. The room was probably used for evening receptions. It is complete, except for the stucco ceiling. Abraham van der Hart, Amsterdam’s municipal architect, created a complete neoclassical…

Cabinet

anonymous, c. 1755 - c. 1765, furniture, BK-1989-16

Venetiaanse pantoffelparade

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1740 - 1770, drawing, RP-T-1981-68

De tempel van Ceres…

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1776 - 1778, drawing, RP-T-1960-205