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Button

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    1809 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stamped silver

  • Museum number:

    4-1892

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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. This button shows a scene from the Old Testament (Numbers 16, v. 1-23), where Moses' spies return from Canaan with a giant bunch of grapes. This design is often erroneously called 'Joshua's spies'.

Antique Dutch silver of all kinds was immensely popular in Britain at the end of the 19th century, particularly buttons. To meet the demand, many Dutch silversmiths made casts of antique examples, often including their original marks, stamped them using old moulds, or made new buttons in archaic designs. This button has marks for the Kingdom of Holland, from the beginning of the 19th century, and may date from that period. It was described as 18th century, from Rotterdam, when it was acquired by the Museum in 1891.

Physical description

Flat circular silver button, with a stamped design of two men carrying a pole across their shoulders with an enormous bunch of grapes hanging from it. There is a twisted wire border, and a loop shank on the back.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)

Date

1809 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Stamped silver

Marks and inscriptions

The number '10' in a rectangular frame.
Mark for 833 standard silver, Kingdom of Holland, 1807-1812.
On back.

'b' in indeterminate frame.
Date letter for 1809.
On back.

Dimensions

Diameter: 2.5 cm, Depth: 0.9 cm

Descriptive line

Flat silver button with a picture of Moses' spies returning from Canaan, Netherlands, 1809.

Materials

Silver

Subjects depicted

Grapes

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Christianity; Europeana Fashion Project; Traditional jewellery (Europe)

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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