The fantastical designs of the Dutch Golden Age

The auricular style – or kwab as it is termed in Dutch – is well represented at the Rijksmuseum.

The team is privileged to have in their collection many of the principal masterpieces by the three great Dutch goldsmiths – Paulus and Adam van Vianen and Johannes Lutma – who were the main inventors of this ornamental language.

Their astonishing cups and dishes are prominently displayed in the 17th-century galleries on the museum’s main floor, where they command considerable attention.

But the team felt that they should for once be joined by their peers from elsewhere, in an exhibition devoted to kwab, as the unique place within Dutch 17th-century culture of this mysterious phenomenon is insufficiently realised or appreciated.