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A Dutch silver two-handle Louis XV basket

Amsterdam, 1772

Origin: The Netherlands, Amsterdam

Master: HH = Hermanus Heuvel

Date: Date letter N = 1772

Weight: 790 gram

Dimensions: Height: 11 x 36 x 19 cm


A spectacular contribution to eighteenth-century silver is the bread basket. English bread baskets are nearly always circular and equipped with a handle, the so-called ‘swing handle baskets’. Outside England bread baskets are however extremely rare.

This elegant bread basket is a fine example of Amsterdam Rococo silver. The playful contours and the shape of the handles are typical for Amsterdam baskets. Characteristic for Hermanus Heuvel are the exuberant naturalistic flowers and leaves, finely sawn and engraved. Heuvel must have been a particular lover of flowers and plants, as such ornamentation is often found on his products, richly executed, but never overwhelming.

The knowledge that such baskets were intended for bread derives from an unexpected source. The Evangelical Lutheran church in Amsterdam ordered a basket from the Holy Sacrament specialist, Reinier Brandt, that was particularly referred to as a bread basket.

Fortunately, many fine bread baskets have survived. The Dutch Republic was still the richest country in the world during the eighteenth century, with a remarkably large and financially affluent middle class. Silver objects could be regarded as money poured into form and could always be exchanged for coin. In years of prosperity, wealthy citizens spent lavishly on the decoration of their homes and tables with silver.



-Antiek, vol. 11, nr. 1, juni/juli 1976, p. 90, advertisement of Ravenstein, Haarlem for a pair of candlesticks by H. Heuvel, as well from 1772.

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