Between Art and Kitsch: The Railway Museum – from royal jewel to table custom – Between Art and Kitsch

Between Art and Kitsch / 20 Nov. 2022

In the broadcast on Sunday 20 November 2022 from Het Spoorwegmuseum, Martijn Akkerman receives a ‘royal’ pendant at the table, Paul van Rosmalen sees a very special ball pass by and Emiel Pottery tells more about silver travel cutlery from the seventeenth century.

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aquamarine pendant
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  • Manufacturer: unknown
  • Origin: France
  • Date: 1910
  • Material: Beryl (aquamarine)
  • Measurements: 3 cm

The lady received the pendant from her father’s legacy. He got it again from his aunt, a woman without children and who was known for her special pieces. Also called the smart Haag aunt. She got this pendant when her father’s inheritance was divided because she regularly performs as a singer and her sisters also liked it if she wanted to wear it. So she does. She has no idea what the value is and does not want to sell the jewel.

Martijn Akkerman: The period of Louis Seize, the end of the 18th century, comes back at the end of the 19th century, then it is called neo Louis Seize. For example, you can see from the bow that this pendant comes from that time. The color of the stone also fits well with the fashion image of the time. In the shop windows of the time, you could see many pastel shades, such as lime green or soft pink.

This beryl comes from Brazil and is rare. You have green beryl, which you call emerald, and blue beryl, which you call aquamarine. This stone is mainly worn by the nobility and the royal family. Even today, our royal family still wears aquamarine jewelry. The stone at the top is a brilliant cut diamond and also surrounded by an entourage of diamonds. This kind of jewelery is no longer made because it is far too labour-intensive. Back then they worked for one euro a day.

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Stainless steel sphere ‘Sphere Trames’
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  • Producer: François Morellet (1926-2016)
  • Origin: France
  • Date: 1962
  • Material: stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 60 cm in diameter

Mister found this item at a metal shop about 30 years ago. He immediately thought it was special. The trader supplied tons of steel and metals, copper, zinc. It was for a party. He bought it for 30 guilders. At home, he started looking in art books and found out that it was Morellet. He never had it assessed, he will never let go of it anyway. It is on a display cabinet at home. The whole family said: take that thing to Between Art and Kitsch sometime.

Paul van Rosmalen: François Morellet was a scion of a wealthy French toy manufacturing family. Therefore, he could afford to deal with art. He began to paint. He belongs to the group of French geometric abstract artists. It was actually un-French, the French didn’t like it. As a result, he has been under the radar for a long time. His work is in many museums around the world. Morellet often visited Holland and made a lot of steel and neon lights, but also paintings and prints.

This sphere was one of his most popular sculptures. He made them in several sizes. He made 50 of this size, it weighs 16 kilos. He had the nice spot welds made in the workshop he had in his parents’ toy factory, where, for example, prams and children’s bicycles were also made. He was very friendly with the Dutch sculptor Ad Dekkers.

Well, I like that

calls the owner after hearing the value

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travel cutlery
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  • Manufacturer: unknown
  • Origin: The Hague
  • Date: 1678
  • Material: silver

The owner’s father had a silver shop in The Hague and also sold jewelery there. He was a goldsmith himself and the third generation of the shop. When his father died, he was given this travel cutlery. His father kept the most beautiful things for himself, so he knows it’s something special. He knows it’s from the 17th century and it’s a piece of travel cutlery, but he has no idea of ​​its value. Earlier he heard an amount of 800 euros.

so you can travel well

said the owner after hearing the value

Emiel Pottery: This is travel cutlery and if you used to go out to eat at someone’s place or eat somewhere on the road, you brought your own cutlery. It was usually just a spoon, because the food was often prepared in a knitting-like shape. Sometimes, like here, a fork was included. For the meat you brought your own knife.

Before this time people ate with their hands, but after 1500 more and more table manners were developed. Most had a wooden spoon, some a silver one. The earliest travel specifications were made in the southern Netherlands, around 1600, in what is now Belgium. They were very luxurious variants, often with a leather holder.

Louis XIV was the first to set the table in France. He wanted to prevent anyone from having nicer cutlery. And he wanted to impress his guests. From then on, the large series of cutlery were made as we still use them, and you no longer had to bring your own travel cutlery. This travel flatware was made in the late 17th century and is simpler in form than those from the early 17th century.

Sent on Sunday 20 November 2022 at 21.30 on NPO 1 (afterwards, the broadcast can be seen on NPO Start)

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