Miniature Cradle

This silver miniature cradle was made in Amsterdam in 1745 by one of the most famous miniature makers, Arnoldus van Geffen.
In the second half of the seventeenth century well-to-do ladies, chiefly from Amsterdam, had cabinets made as dolls’ houses, which were then furnished with miniature silver household effects. The dolls’ house—like the collector’s cabinet—was intended for display. Indeed, the showpiece dolls’ house was regarded as part of the owner’s art collection. It was a splendid way of emphasizing one’s status and distinction.

By no means everyone could afford a dolls’ house, but many well-off burghers had a collection of miniatures at this time. They were displayed on shelves on the wall or in small cabinets. By the first half of the eighteenth century, the popularity of miniatures in Amsterdam was at its height. It was a real craze. The demand for silver miniatures in Amsterdam was so high that generations of silversmiths specialized in making them. A great many top quality pieces were crafted. A miniature cradle like the one here was a much-loved object.

Would you like to know more about Dutch miniatures? We wrote a book about this subject: 'Tall & Small, antique Dutch Silver Miniatures' , which can be ordered here.


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