Monday, July 06, 2015


I don't know whether you have read "The Miniaturist" by Jessie Burton?  This is a novel set in Amsterdam, in the seventeenth century.  It starts very much in the vein of "The Girl in the Pearl Earring", but takes a turn towards magic realism.  The central character, Nella, is bought a dolls' house by her new husband, as a form of compensation for the fact that his own house is governed by his puritanical sister. Petronella makes contact with a miniaturist who provides her with  furnishings and figures for the house - items with prophetic significance.

As I was skimming through the Acknowledgements at the back, I came across a reference to a cabinet dolls' house in the Rijksmuseum, which had belonged to Petronella Oortman, the name of the central character.  So, of course, while in Amsterdam we had to visit Room 221 where the said cabinet dolls' house is on display.  It is veneered in tortoiseshell inlayed with pewter, and the little interiors give a very good impression of domestic life.  The motto of the book, however, is that "Things will change".  I won't reveal exactly how, as you may want to read the book yourself, but the motto is an understatement.

We explored some of what the Rijksmuseum had to offer, but by lunchtime were suffering from museum fatigue.

Another location featured in the novel is the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam.  We enjoyed these grotesque carvings on the misericords.


1 comment:

LizM said...

Catching up after some time with my family... I didn't realise there was an offshoot of the Hermitage that was easier to get too, some food for thought. Sounds like a great trip!