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Silver Collection of the MOU Museum


The collection

In addition to an extensive collection of Oudenaarde tapestries, Oudenaarde has a large and varied silver collection, the vast majority of which presents the various highlights and regions of European silversmithing and the rest of which provides an almost complete overview of Oudenaarde silver during the Ancien Régime.

It can rightly be called one of the largest silver collections in Flanders! More than 80% of the collection is a bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Ernest and Hélene de Boever-Alligoridès.

The Oudenaarde silversmithing flourished at about the same time as the tapestry industry (16th-18th century).


Collection from the Golden Age

The European collection offers an overview of 16th, 17th and 18th century silverware and silver. The majority, however, are situated in the Golden Age. The great diversity of drinking cups is striking: ceremonial cups, wager cups, guild cups, cups in the shape of animals, tazzi and finally cups made of exotic materials.


Special pieces in art cabinets

The so-called cabinets of curiosities originated in the 16th and 17th centuries. Monarchs, nobles and scholars put together a collection of rarities or rare objects. Due to the contacts of traders with foreign countries, the trade in exotic materials is growing. The special objects are also taken to the Netherlands during the voyages of discovery. Exotic shells, corals, rhinoceros horn, turtle shells and coconuts, encased in silver frames, adorned the art cabinets.

In the Oudenaarde collection, there is a coconut cup, a nautilus shell cup, a gunpowder flask with a tortoise shell body, jewel-set Chinese porcelain, ivory drinking flagons, flagons made of serpentine stone and a bezoar stone.


Festive table

One of the highlights is a festive table set with silver from the 18th century.

Tables and buffets with celebratory silver were replaced during the 18th century by elaborately laid banquets with refined everyday silver. It was the period of the new table culture.

This refined dining culture called for new tableware for specific use such as terrines for meat or soup, bowls, sauce boats, oil and vinegar sets, decanter holders, casters, mustard pots, ice buckets, kettles, candle holders, table chafing dishes, all sorts of bowls, bread baskets and cutlery.



© MOU Museum Oudenaarde en de Vlaamse Ardennen - design Digital Cordon Bleu