Rare series of 18th century jewellery designs in DIVA museum

Eminent Elegance. Jewellery designs by L. Vander Cruycen

From April 28th untill June 15th 2019, a selection of the 18th century jewellery designs – attributed to L. Vander Cruycen – acquired by the King Baudouin Foundation, is exhibited in the reading room of the DIVA library. An album with ornament prints by Vander Cruycen and others is also on view. DIVA presents these exceptional designs and rare prints by Vander Cruycen for the first time to the public. 

Who is L. Vander Cruycen? ​
Vander Cruycen is described in various historical works as a leading jeweller of the day and his move from Brussels to Paris, which was the international centre of jewellery at the time, bears witness to his excellent reputation.

At the present time, we know of only four books of jewellery sketches published in the 18th century in the Southern Netherlands: two by Joannes Baptista Grondoni, the Livre Dorfeferie (The Book of Silverwork) by Noé Pauwels and the Nouveau Livre de desseins (New Book of Drawings) by L. Vander Cruycen. In 1770, L. Vander Cruycen published a second series of engravings in Paris, entitled Nouveau Livre de desseins contenant les Ouvrages de la Joaillerie (New Book of Drawings containing Works of Jewellery). Through further research DIVA hopes to determine who L. Vander Cruycen was.

Design for the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece Ontwerp (c) Sotheby's images
Design for the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece Ontwerp (c) Sotheby's images

Album with ornament prints
The album contains four series of prints: one from the encyclopedia compiled by Diderot & d'Alembert, concerning the goldsmith's art and jewellery, one with vignettes engraved by Jacques de Sève and one entitled Nouveau livre de desseins contenant les ouvrages de la Joaillerie by L. Vander Cruycen dating from 1770 together, with the 1907 reprint. Based on the style and elaboration the drawings are connected to the prints by Vander Cruycen.

Sketches for jewellery and accessoires
This rare series of 23 sheets, acquired by the Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund, have been entrusted to DIVA. The entire serie shows 127 sketches of jewellery and accessories, attributed to L. Vander Cruycen, including designs for earrings, brooches, cufflinks, buckles, miniature portrait frames, covers for boxes and snuff boxes, sword hilts and insignia including those representing the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Order of Malta and the Polish Order of the White Eagle.

Cultural Heritage Account

DIVA wants to have the album with ornament prints treated, for preservation, research, cataloging and presentation purposes. To support the conservation treatment, the King Baudouin Foundation has opened an account. ​ We welcome your support for the project. A deposit can be made into the account BIC: BPOTBEB1BE10 0000 0000 0404 - BIC: BPOTBEB1 of the King Baudouin Foundation, with the mandatory structured communication ***129/1019/00022***. Gifts as of € 40.00 per year to the Foundation give the right to a tax reduction of 45% on the amount actually paid (art. 145/33 WIB).

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About DIVA, museum for diamonds, jewellery and silver

DIVA is the museum for diamonds, jewellery and silver in Antwerp. A themed exhibition trail will take visitors on a journey through Antwerp’s diamond story, from illustrious past to awe-inspiring present. Some 600 objects from DIVA’s collection are presented in such a way that the public can engage with them in a meaningful way. Exhibition sets, soundscapes, multimedia and interactive displays bring a different story to life in each of the six themed rooms, thereby involving visitors, sustaining their interest, challenging them to unlock the deeper layers and enriching their overall experience.