Creativity and inventiveness of the dutch silversmith.
Silversmithing existed in The Netherlands from the earliest of time and flourished during the late Middle Ages.
From 1580 onwards when the young Republic of the Seven Provinces of The Netherlands became a world power, silversmithing reached its zenith.
Silver objects could easily be converted into money.
After eighty years of war with Catholic Spain, the Dutch Republic became an independent state. During the war the Republic developed into a powerful, cultural and prosperous trading nation. Architects, sculptors and those employed in the applied arts were naturally subject to outside influences. Despite this, they were able to create something characteristically Dutch.
During French domination from 1795-1813, the Dutch artist was capable of remaining true to himself and to his environment. Each region within the Provinces of Holland had its own distinct character. Silversmithing had been practiced since the beginning of time but the region known as Holland was by far the most influential and this explains rather erroneously why Holland is identified as The Netherlands in the present day.
Silver objects could easily be exchanged for currency. It was the monetary standard, from the fall of the Byzantine Empire (330 BC – 1453AD), until the 19th century. Its price was estimated according to the object, its weight, the cost of smithing and possible engraving even though these costs were always lower than the actual value of silver.
In The Netherlands of the 17th and 18th centuries an enormous quantity of large silver objects was commissioned by the wealthy. They reflected not only the artistry and beauty of the item but also the financial status of its owner.