Tulipcabinet c. 1635-1650

Herman Doomer

Room 47

Audio & Video

Ask away


Thanks for your question, it has been sent.

We strive to answer all questions. But this will not always be possible.

When your question has been answered, you'll receive an email, and your question and the answer will be visible in the Boijmans Tour.

Kind Regards,
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

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)