The Van Herck Collection

Liturgical objects and decorative sculptures

In 1996, the King Baudouin Foundation acquired an important collection of over 700 drawings and 110 terracotta figures created by Flemish sculptors from the 16th to 19th centuries. The collection mainly comprises projects for liturgical objects and decorative sculptures made by renowned Baroque artists including Lucas Faydherbe, Arthus Quellinus, Jan-Peter van Bauerscheit, Michiel Vandervoort and Laurent Delvaux. The works provide an indispensable source for the study of the Antwerp Baroque and the conception of liturgical objects.

Objects of study

The drawings and terracotta models in the collection were mostly made as pilot studies for the final work. They were presented to the client, but also served as objects of study and work for the sculptor and his apprentices. Upon the death of the master, a studio’s contents were generally taken over by another studio, so that the objects provided a channel by which ideas and compositions were transmitted from one generation to another.

The development of sculpture

The Antwerp collector Charles Van Herck only revealed his collection to a handful of privileged friends. After his death, this collection was for years in danger of being dispersed or sold abroad. Thanks to its acquisition by the King Baudouin Foundation, the collection has not only been conserved in its entirety in Belgium; it has also enriched our public collections with a unique testimony to the development of sculpture in the former Southern Netherlands. The drawings have been entrusted to the Print Department of the City of Antwerp (Stedelijk Prentenkabinet), whilst the terracotta objects have been entrusted to the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. Publication 'Terracottas 17th and 18th century. Collection Van Herck' Pubication 'Drawings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Collection Van Herck' Website Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp Website Print Department Further information about the Heritage Fund (in French)