Erik worked as guest curator for 18th century jewellery for the exhibition The Forgotten Princesses of Thorn in Limburgs Museum in Venlo, the Netherlands, which opens today and runs until 3 April 2022. As guest curator Erik arranged loans of jewels from museum and private collections, including the world premiere of a ring with a diamond engraved by the great 18th century glyptic artist Lorenz Natter.
Historically, it is rare to see women described as autonomous actors with independent identities. With The Forgotten Princesses of Thorn – curated by Dr. Joost Welten – the Limburgs Museum shatters the historical invisibility of women. In the 18th century, Thorn (in modern-day Limburg) was a tiny independent state in the Holy Roman Empire where princesses and countesses ruled. The exhibition traces the lives of several of these princesses and gives an extraordinary glimpse into European aristocratic life in the 18th century. A life of tremendous freedom for that day and age, filled with pomp and grandeur, yet also a life led in a gilded cage.
The exhibition presents artworks and objects from more than 50 museums across Europe and the US; most have never before been shown in the Netherlands. Erik arranged loans of several 18th century jewels from Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and from private collections, which are shown here. Exquisite is the diamond and ruby feather brooch in silver and gold. Very typical of the 18th century is the pink and white topaz floral spray brooch, which is Portuguese from circa 1750. Particularly fun is the Dutch enamelled ring with pastoral scenes dating from circa 1660; the Princesses of Thorn loved their hunting.
The Limburgs Museum had a world premiere with the 18th century ring set with a diamond featuring an urn engraved in it by the great glyptic artist Lorenz Natter (1705-1763), who worked for various royal courts including that of the Prince of Orange in The Hague, Netherlands. The renowned glyptic expert Hadrien Rambach was able to attribute the engraving to Natter based on a drawing by Natter of said diamond in the collections of the State Hermitage Museum archives in St. Petersburg, Russia. The glyptic arts were a very popular pastime for 18th century high profile ladies, like the Princesses of Thorn.