Tulipcabinet c. 1635-1650

Herman Doomer

Room 47

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Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

asked:
Where is the whalebone?
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen responded:
Thanks for your question. The 24 drawers inside the cabinet are decorated with a delicate pattern executed in whale-bone - which was readily available as a result of the flourishing whaling industry at the time. Herman Doomer himself, devised the process of pressing the material into a metal mold and colouring it. In 1641 he applied for a patent for this method. Best, Rianne

About this artwork

This ebony veneered cabinet inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl can be seen as a forerunner to the museum. Collectors would have kept curiosities in it such as rare shells and stones. The tulip motif was a symbol of wealth in Holland in the seventeenth century as tulip bulbs fetched enormous sums of money.

About the creator

Herman Doomer

Anrath circa 1595 - Amsterdam 1650

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen owns two cabinets by Herman Doomer. Originally from Germany, Doomer started working as a cabinetmaker in Amsterdam in 1613. He was very inventive in his use of material: the drawers of the ‘Collectors Cabinet’ (1640-1650) are made of baleen or whalebone, which was pressed in a metal mould. Doomer developed a special technique that enabled him to incorporate this by-product of the flourishing whaling industry of the time as a decorative element in his furniture. He also used different types of tropical wood, which he decorated with images or fine marquetry of mother-of-pearl and ivory. Doomer was so much respected that he and his wife were both painted by Rembrandt.


Object details

material and technique: cedarwood, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl
kind of object: collector's cabinet
creditline: Verworven met de verzameling van / Acquired with the collection of: D.G. van Beuningen 1958
inventory number: Div. M 17 (KN&V)