From 2009, the RKD's Archives collection has been significantly enriched with an exceptional core of ten archives of silver manufacturers and silversmiths: N.V. Koninklijke Van Kempen & Begeer, Van Kempen Stichting, Christa Ehrlich, As Bonebakker & Zoon, Wed. H. Helweg & Zoon, Frans Zwollo senior, Frans Zwollo junior, Paul Zwollo, An Zwollo, and Stichting Zilver in Beweging. The unique archival material, including thousands of design and presentation drawings and photographs, is concentrated on the 19th and 20th centuries. This collection of silver archives aims to provide the most complete possible overview of Dutch silversmith's work for researchers, museums, publicists, and other interested parties.
In view of the volume (> 100 metres), remarkable character, and importance of these silver archives, after making the inventories (2009-2016) digitally available, it was decided to execute a deepening phase as well as initiate a research phase. For this, collaboration was sought with the Nederlands Zilvermuseum Schoonhoven, which boasts an extensive extensive collection of silver objects by Van Kempen & Begeer. The project's point of departure is a selection of the museum's ‘Top 100’ objects, which are linked to several research themes that dovetail with the museum's target groups.
In-depth disclosure will be achieved by assigning search terms (‘tags’) to the digitized archival documents: the ‘Top 100’ objects will be linked to design and presentation drawings, contemporary photographs, and catalogues. Cross-connections between the silver archives will be made in the RKDArchives database, as well as connections between artists or designers in the RKDArtists& database. In addition, a public-oriented, digital publication is slated to appear in Studies in 2018. Narrative texts about the ‘Top 100’ objects – for instance on style and technique, use, designer and/or manufacturer, and the nature of the commission – will be supported by representative archival material. It will be possible to consult this flexible digital publication via Studies. Moreover, the Nederlands Zilvermuseum Schoonhoven will employ it for educational purposes.