_H3 afb 1 BK-1956-44-95

Collector’s Cabinet with Miniature Apothecary’s Shop, anonymous, 1730.

AMSTERDAM.- In the last few years no fewer than 50 experts have been involved in conducting research on the only eighteenth-century miniature apothecary’s shop in the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum is now presenting the results of this research and conservation project in an extensive publication, designed by Irma Boom and showing the miniature pharmacy and 56 secret drawers for the first time, at almost actual size. 

Collector's cabinet with miniature apothecary’s shop 
This rare collector's cabinet houses an abundance of curiosities including a fully fitted miniature apothecary’s shop containing more than three hundred Delftware pots, glass bottles, tiny wooden drawers, paintings and gilded ornaments. Concealed beside and behind the miniature pharmacy are no fewer than 56 secret drawers, all but five of which contain the collection of nearly 2000 varieties of naturalia, including seeds, flowers, roots, animal parts, rocks, minerals and fossils. 

Research 
The research has now been completed, providing a far deeper understanding of the cabinet’s origins, its purpose, the exceptional naturalia it contains, and the collectors’ world it inhabited. We can now be fairly certain that the cabinet was made in Amsterdam in 1730 for a wealthy doctor or apothecary, as a curiosity for the entertainment of a select group of friends and fellow collectors. 

The study also revealed that most of the naturalia items form the original contents of the cabinet. The naturalia even include uraninite and two other minerals containing uranium –for safety reasons, these materials are now safely stored in lead caskets in the Rijksmuseum’s depot, in accordance with the regulations and permit issued under the Dutch Nuclear Energy Act. 

The conservation and restoration work have for a large part returned the cabinet and miniature apothecary’s shop to their former glory, and this object is now one of the highlights of the eighteenth-century galleries in the Rijksmuseum.

_H2 afb 1 BK-1956-44-133

Collector’s Cabinet with Miniature Apothecary’s Shop, anonymous, 1730.

_Fotopres 12 BK-1956-44-138

Collector’s Cabinet with Miniature Apothecary’s Shop, anonymous, 1730.

 

_App B lade 10 BK-1956-44-161

Collector’s Cabinet with Miniature Apothecary’s Shop, anonymous, 1730.