These are items of cast or beaten copper and its alloys, more particularly brass. Another term for them is ‘Dinanderie’, a word that is derived from the name of the town of Dinant on the River Meuse, a centre of high-quality brassware production since the 13th century. Our collection covers the period from the 12th to the 18th century and is exceptional for various reasons, one of which is the large number of first-class large items, including the baptismal font of St. Germanus of Tirlemont (1149), the Paschal-candle stand of St. Ghislain (1442) and the large, Baroque collection plate by Dusart.
Pewter has been made since Prehistoric times. In Western Europe, it was used from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century for ordinary tableware and household goods. Pewter or ‘the poor man’s silver’ was constantly adapted to the development of the stylistic trends of luxury tableware. Although it fell out of fashion when faience wares came into general use during the 18th century, it enjoyed a final flourishing at the end of the 19th century when a new alloy linked to industrial production was created. Our collection, with its exceptional selection of important pieces, gives this entire history a tangible feel.
Although iron is a very functional metal, it has been used in the same way as brass and pewter for decorative purposes, particularly in the manufacture of locks and decorative ironwork. After many years, the finest examples of our collection are once more on display. They include fine keys and locks, a variety of chests and components of decorative fencing. Represented here, too, are the major decorative techniques that were applied in the old art of lock-making, from the Gothic period to the 18th century.