Jewellery designs, attributed to L. Vander Cruycen

This rare series of 23 sheets, dating from the 18th century, shows 127 jewellery designs and accessories, attributed to L. Vander Cruycen, the famous Brussels and Paris silversmith. No other comparable designs of the period are known to date. This ensemble is therefore key to understanding the development of the silversmith’s trade in the Southern Netherlands. The designs also enable further research to be made about the creation, typologies and distribution of jewellery. Acquired by the Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund, the documents have been entrusted to the DIVA, Antwerp’s new museum of diamonds, silver and jewellery, where they place the art of jewellery design in an international perspective.

The drawings include 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.

L. 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 two books of jewellery designs published in the 18th century in the Southern Netherlands: 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).

Further research will enable us to determine whether the designs acquired by the Foundation were in fact the prelude to a third series, or whether they were rather intended to present new projects to the jeweller’s clientele. What is without doubt is that they are very similar to the 1770 Parisian edition, in both style and execution. The watermarked paper used dates from between 1760 and 1770.

This acquisition by the Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund is certainly an exceptional addition to our public collections as well as for the DIVA, which has also recently purchased a series of engravings by L. Vander Cruycen

Material / technique: 
Pencil and wash on paper
ca. 38 x 24 cm
Type of acquisition: 
Acquired bu the Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
DIVA, Antwerp