Three guesses where I spent the day yesterday... Well, no challenge there, I was at the museum again.
In my previous post I showed you the beautiful Simpliciakast, a miniature apothecary.  A few days after I posted about the cabinet I saw that the museum was holding a lecture on the restoration of the cabinet.    Of course I just had to go there!

I wasn't the only one wanting to visit the museum that day.  When I arrived there were hundreds of people in line outside, waiting to get in.  I waited in line for twenty minutes but got a little worried as there was no movement at all and the lecture was starting 15 minutes later.   I went up to one of the security guards and explained my situation.  When I showed him my reservation, fortunately he let me jump the queue and I was able to make it in time to the Auditorium.

The lecture was fun and interesting.  The wonderful thing about these lectures is the things you find out about an object you wouldn't really know when you look at it in the museum gallery.  For instance the meaning of the Latin text and the five small paintings on the cabinet, all relating to the profession of the apothecary.    

Many times a comparison was drawn with the dolls houses in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, as these were also miniature collections used for display and to show off.  

The thing I enjoyed most was seeing how there were many hidden compartments in the cabinet.   The small central alcove or niche can be taken out after which, with the help of a hidden pulley system,  the entire centre section of the cabinet lifts up to reveal a set of secret drawers.  These drawers are all compartmentalised using the most beautiful designs to hold all manner of stones, animal and vegetable specimens.

The bottom of the cabinet holds a writing slope and yet more drawers.   For those of you interested in this cabinet, the Rijksmuseum will be publishing a small book about the Simpliciakast around June/July.  I'll keep you informed!


This time I just had to visit the room with the famous dolls houses.  It was very busy in these galleries so I didn't feel comfortable monopolising the house with my camera.  Therefore I have only two photos to show you of the  Petronella Oortman dolls house   but there are many more photos to be found online.

These two photos can be viewed much bigger when you open them in a new window.

The cabinet and the rooms are much much larger than I remembered.  This dolls house is BIG!  But oh so beautiful!   Here is a shot of one of the bedrooms.  I love the gorgeous wood paneling and the raspberry red velvet wall covering (is it velvet?  I think so, I'll check next time I visit.)  And the silver wall sconces against the red is stunning.  And the ceiling, and the mirror, and, and...

This is the central hall of the dolls house.  Beautiful wood is used again, this time set off against the grey and white tones of the marble and the murals.  And another wonderful ceiling.  Above the two arches there are two window looking into the ' comptoir'  (a small study).


I leave you today with this photo of a mirror from around 1700 which I thought would be good to make  a miniature version of.  Or a simplified version of it, as this may be a tad ambitious ;-)

...or:  How to have a wonderful day even though your feet are killing you.

Yesterday I went to Amsterdam to listen to a lecture given by two of the Rijksmuseum's art restorers.  Head of the restoration department Paul van Duin and junior paintings restorer Lisette Vos talked about the restoration of the Beuning room, a Cuba mahogany Dutch Rococo room made for merchant Matthias Beuning in 1748.

As the Beuning room originally came from the Amsterdam canal house at Keizersgracht 187,  and many elements in my first 12th scale canal house are based on an Amsterdam canal house in the Dutch Rococo style,   you can understand why I was interested in going to this lecture.

It could be a room in a dolls house, don't you think?  Granted, a very beautiful one, but still...

In reality this room is quite big.  To give you an impression of scale, that is my reflection in the mirror (with heels I am 6 feet tall).   But then again, as we all know ' objects in mirror are closer than they appear'.  ;-)

I really enjoyed hearing about the restoration of this room.   The restoration of the ceiling and the choices they made in the way the room is displayed had my particular interest as this is information you don't normally have access to when visiting a museum.  

It was interesting for me to find how much knowledge I had already,  just from doing research for my dolls house!

I spent the rest of the afternoon browsing some of the galleries at the Rijksmuseum.  As you may know, the museum opened last Saturday, after a remodelling job which lasted ten (!!!) years.    The new entrance is a beautiful, light and spacious Atrium which I really liked as a contrast to the more intimate feel of the galleries.  

However, to the new visitor who doesn't know the museum (which will be thousands a day, as many visitors are tourists) it was a bit of a mystery how to get from one side of the museum to the other.  I tried to get to the 18th century galleries from the entrance and needed directions 4 times and got stopped and sent back by security guards three times for trying to enter part of the museum from the Atrium.  Beautiful as the Atrium is, it was very confusing to be able to walk from the galleries into the Atrium, only to find out you had then actually left the museum.  I think the Rijks has to schedule in a few more meetings in order to solve this ;-)

Anyway, once I arrived at the 18th century gallery, I found this miniature related piece I would like to show you here.  It is a ' Simpliciakast'  or Collectors cabinet  from 1730 which holds all kinds of medicinal ingredients, as well as minerals, fossils, wood samples, seeds, etc.  

It has still has the original 92 Delft faience pots, 148 glass bottles and 61 wooden barrels.  So beautiful! 

I loved the small painted panels with the ivory columns on the inside of the doors.  

In another gallery I found the collection of silver miniatures which has also been on display at the large dolls house exhibition last year in Den Haag.    I think I showed you a photo of this table laden with gorgeous silver tableware last year as well.  I still love it!

This mid 19th century kitchen room box , filled with 18th century silver miniatures (also at the exhibition last year)  is part of the permanent collection at the Rijksmuseum.

There are many more miniature related objects to discover at the museum (there's a whole gallery full of beautiful ships models) and of course...the three fantastic dolls houses!    I didn't have time to look at them yesterday though, they will have to wait until my next visit.