Bonhams raises a glass to Dutch craftsmanship

THE Netherlands projected huge power through maritime trade but also celebrated it in subtle forms.

By 1759, command of the oceans might have moved away, but the Dutch were still masters of combining beauty and practicality, writes Neville Smith.

This Dutch engraved light-baluster goblet, signed by Jacob Sang and dated 1759 is a typically fine example. The funnel bowl is engraved with a three-masted sailing ship in a harbour scene, with bales and casks being loaded on to horse-drawn sleds, the reverse inscribed ‘de negotie te waater en te land’ above a stylised view of the Old Customs House at Amsterdam where the goods are being weighed.  The scene is set on a slender multi-knopped stem and wide conical foot and inscribed ‘Jacob Sang, inv - et Fec: Amsterdam, 1759’.

A similar, unsigned light-baluster goblet engraved with virtually the same views and inscription was acquired by the Amsterdam Historical Museum in 1937. Always attributed to Jacob Sang, curators assumed the building was the Customs House in Amsterdam, though it does not correlate to known views of that building and may in fact be allegorical of the Amsterdam trade. This signed version is expected to sell for £12,000-18,000 when it comes up for sale as part of the Thomas Collection, to be sold at Bonhams on June 4.