Domestic Metalwork through the ages

Anthony Donker, Silver glass cooler, 1708. Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Nicolaas Kraan, Kettle, 1750. Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Anonymous, Frying pan with wooden handle (added later), ca.1300-1400. Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Press release

Domestic Metalwork through the ages
Van Beuningen-de Vriese Collection

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a new display of its study collection with more
than 1350 items of domestic metalwork. The new display shows a selection from the
museum’s enormous collection of pre-industrial domestic objects, including the Van
Beuningen-de Vriese Collection.

The installation was a huge job, with a large team of volunteers enlisted to polish the items.
Objects in diverse metals – from iron to gold – show the development of functional design
across the centuries. To bring order to this great variety of objects the display is organised
around eight themes, including ‘materials and techniques’, ‘kitchen utensils’, ‘accessories’
and ‘toys’, which provide an overview of pre-industrial utensils from the Middle Ages to the
nineteenth century. The display is supplemented with contemporary objects in order to show
recent technological developments. This study collection augments ‘The Design Collection’,
which has been on display since the beginning of the year.

New uses
The display includes the Smart Replicas that Studio Maaike Roozenburg has made in
collaboration with the museum. Inspired by the collection of pre-industrial domestic objects,
she has made copies of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century items using a combination of
craft techniques and the latest 3D scanning and printing technology. In this way Roozenburg
turns museum pieces into everyday utensils. Also on display is the series ‘Volete vedere i
miei cucciai usati 010802-010812’ by Lam de Wolf. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
acquired the first edition from this series in 2003. The artwork comprises paper cut-outs of
spoons the artist has used on a daily basis, creating a unique diary. After ten years the series
is now complete and is displayed as a wall installation.

Van Beuningen-de Vriese Gift
Many of the objects on display have been selected from the Van Beuningen-de Vriese
Collection, which is shown in various configurations in the pavilion that bears the same
name. Together with the museum’s collection of industrial design, the display affords the
viewer a broad survey of developments in household items. H.J.E. van Beuningen, a nephew
of D.G. van Beuningen from whom the museum takes part of its name, gave his collection of
pre-industrial domestic objects to the museum in 1990. The pavilion was designed by
architect Hubert-Jan Henket in 1991 to house the collection.

Online study collection
Since the opening of the pavilion, the basement area has been used as a general study
collection with display cases from floor to ceiling. In addition to this presentation, a growing
number of objects from the collection can be viewed online at and in which pre-industrial objects are linked to depictions in paintings and
drawings in the collection.