Johannes Pieter van der Schilden trained as a furniture maker and started a business specializing in neo-styles. He was also an eclectic collector. His purchases ranged from old masters to contemporary artists and all kinds of decorative art. He was particularly fond of the artists of the Hague School and his collection of silver.
He became involved with Museum Boymans at an early stage. He was a member of the Museum Boymans Committee and also acted as its treasurer. Van der Schilden frequently loaned works to the museum and occasionally made a gift. On his seventieth birthday in 1921, for example, he gave the museum his collections of Delftware and Chinese and Japanese pottery. In his will he named the City of Rotterdam as his sole beneficiary ‘for the benefit of Museum Boymans’.