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  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved silver

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 71, shelf A, box 9

From the 17th century onwards, Dutch men wore dozens of silver buttons to demonstrate their wealth and status. The most popular kinds were round silver filigree buttons, and flat pictorial buttons. The designs on pictorial buttons were those of most interest to their owners; rural and seafaring scenes, bible stories, patriotic symbols, and horsemen. Many were based on the designs of 17th century coins, but the same patterns continued to be used well into the 20th century.

Small circular and octagonal buttons with an engraved picture of a horseman are characteristic of Drenthe and Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. They are colloquially known as 'ruiters' or 'ruitertjes' (riders). They are now considered typical of the town of Staphorst, where they are still worn with traditional costume (and where modern versions are still being made).

Physical description

Flat octagonal button with round section loop shank. Engraved design of a rider facing left on the front, within a single frame.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)


ca. 1780-1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved silver


Diameter: 1.8 cm, Depth: 0.7 cm

Historical context note

Worn by men.

Descriptive line

Octagonal silver button (ruitertje) with engraved image of a horseman, Netherlands, 18th century.




Engraving (incising)

Subjects depicted

Rider; Horse


Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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