What do you when you missed your trips to Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House due to flight cancellations/delays, and staying out till late the night before and sleeping past the alarm time?
Go and check out another museum. One that even some locals haven't heard of, but bagaholics--or in my case a bagaholic in remission--can seek refuge from.
The Museum of Bags and Purses or Tassenmuseum Hendrikje started out as a 35-year private collection of Hendrikje Ivo. It grew into its current 4,000-catalogue showcasing the history of and pieces of western bags from the 15th century to the present.
The museum's housed at the former Herengracht residence of Pieter de Graeff who came from a long line of de facto patricians from the Dutch Golden Age.
The bags and accessories in the museum are either donated, on loan, or bought by the museum. Click here if you have a bag or accessory you think deserves a space in their display cases.
I was greeted at the entrance by a photo of this evening bag which is one of the pieces on display at the contemporary design section. It's a silk evening bag studded with shells or capiz designed in 2008 and donated by Philippine designer Cora Jacobs. I grew up admiring her designs which are crafted from indigenous materials. In fact, one of my most recent acquisitions is a clutch from her collection.
|My own Cora Jacobs clutch. I love the textured mint velvet and the MOP/tortoise magnetic fastener.|
The exhibit starts at the 3rd floor--that is, if you prefer to view the bags chronologically from the 16th century. You'll be ascending this magnificent staircase.
And will land this view
The rooms are very stately which are now occupied by the cafe and tea rooms. Trip Advisor reviewers have some lovely photos of the rooms.The museum is also a licenced wedding venue.
My apologies by the way for the quality of photos. I edited them, but for some reason they keep reverting to the original version. The muted museum lighting and glare of the glass cabinets didn't help either to highlight the colours and textures of the bags and accessories on display. Any tips from photography enthusiasts are very much welcome.
Now, let's start with the temporary exhibition.
Temporary Exhibit: School Bags
Don't worry, no pop quiz on this. I'll just show you photos of Dutch wooden school boxes which were the forerunners of modern school bags.
|This one didn't look happy to go to school.|
Off to the permanent exhibit rooms...
Permanent Exhibit: The Evolution of the Modern Handbag
|Letter cases and wallets|
Clothing back then had no inside pockets, so bags and purses came into fashion for both men and women to carry around their personal effects. With the incorporation of pockets in men's clothing, personal bags fell into disuse.
|Leather drawstring pouch, The Netherlands, 17th century.|
|Silk bridal bag with groom (the French King Louis XV) and the bride (Princess Maria Leszczynska) in enamel on copper, Limoges, France, 1725.|
|Goat leather belt pouch with iron frame and some 18 pockets, some of which were secret compartments, France, 16th century.|
|Various types of stocking purses|
|Tie pockets from England, Scotland and France.|
|Silk workbag with gold stitchery, sequins, glass ang gold plaiting, France, late 18th century.|
|Various types of reticules|
|Other types of reticules|
|L: A handbag with a coversheet of tortoiseshell inlaid with mother-of-pearl, Germany, circa 1820; R: A silk reticule decorated with tortoiseshell, MOP, and gilt leaves, France, circa 1840.|
|No. 5 is an imitation tortoiseshell handbag from 1950s America; No. 4 is a tortoiseshell card holder with mother-of-pearl inlay.|
|Snakeskin handbag with ivory coversheet 'Eve and the apple', with silver border, Germany, 1920s.|
|Ivory carrier, late 19th century|
|Ivory frames with oriental and Egyptian pattern, 1920s|
Steel, Filigree, Straw, and Fabric
|A steel mini bag|
|A wicker bag in the shape of a boat house|
|Fabric tobacco pouch in the shape of a monk with the face, hands and feet in vegetable ivory, Austria, early 19th century.|
Plastic handbags were fashionable in 1950s America. They were made from lucite or perspex or plexiglass. They were initially expensive but the introduction of lower quality versions marked down the price.
|Bridal purse of Maltese lace, Europe, 1910.|
|Various samples of older leather bags|
|Black cloth bag with silver frame|
|Silver frames for handbags showing the years they were manufactured/in vogue. Notice that they were all from the 18th century.|
The Jewel Collection
|Leather lettercase with fine beaded pictures and copper closure, Russia, early 19th century.|
|Silk lettercase with a Wedgwood medallion and cut steel beads, England, 1800-1825.|
|Leather and silk lettercase with embroideries, poem and miniature by Favorin Ledebour, France, 1806.|
|Black and white beaded bag, 1930s.|
|Clutch bag with black and white glass beads, France, 1930s.|
|Brocade bag by Maison de Bonneterie, The Netherlands, 1930s.|
|Fabric pochette with embroidery and chrome frame, The Netherlands, 1930s.|
|Purses with pinchbeck covers, France, 19th century.|
|Purses with miniatures of Parisian buildings, France, 1855.|
|Silk purse embroidered with gold thread and mother-of-pearl dance card, France, 19th century.|
|Souvenir pouch with images of Parisian buildings, France, 1855.|
|Souvenir pouch and pouch cover with miniatures of Parisian buildings, France, 19th century.|
|Purse with gold thread and golden frame by J Vonk, The Netherlands, 1836.|
|Purses with golden frames, 1800-1825; and Gilded snuffbox, both from The Netherlands, 19th century; Dance booklet with mother-of-pearl and gold, ivory pages, golden pencil, France 19th century.|
|Beaded purse with golden frame, by T. C. Moot, The Netherlands, circa 1820.|
Fancy anything from these antique bags? I'm drawn towards the purse with pinchbeck covers, fabric pochette with embroidery, and snakeskin handbag with ivory coversheet.
Which one is yours?
Click on Part II ...