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11 November until 2 April

‘Gold! Watches and Jewellery collected by Sophia Lopez Suasso’ features 130 exquisite items once owned by a unique collector in Amsterdam: Sophia Lopez Suasso-de Bruijn (1816-1890). Nineteenth-century watches by famous makers such as Patek Philippe star alongside gem-encrusted brooches and ingenious snuff boxes. Today, Amsterdam Museum manages Sophia Lopez Suasso’s collection. To accompany the exhibition, the museum organises a programme of activities including a lecture by Martijn Akkerman, Dutch television’s celebrated jewellery expert. Gold! is this year’s winter show and opens on 10 November 2017.

Collector Sophia Lopez Suasso-de Bruijn

Sophia Adriana de Bruijn, daughter of a merchant in Amsterdam, married Lord Augustus Pieter Lopez Suasso, scion of a Portuguese Jewish family, on 7 April 1860. In addition to the watches and jewellery they bought on their frequent travels around Europe, the couple also acquired bronze sculpture, medals and coins, books and costumes. After Augustus died in 1877, Sophia continued to collect. She remained a regular customer of jeweller H. Martens on Amsterdam’s Rokin.

In 1888, Sophia purchased the entire content of the Museum Broeker House, neighbouring Vondel Park, for 25,000 guilders. She had by then already established in her will that her own house on Kloveniersburgwal should be dedicated as a museum after her death. However, it proved unsuitable for the purpose and so the city of Amsterdam, to whom she had left her estate, decided to build a new museum to accommodate her collection. This became Amsterdam’s famous Stedelijk Museum, an institution which her bequest helped create. In fact it was popularly called Suasso Museum, a fitting tribute to this nineteenth-century collector.

Superb collection

Sophia had a weakness for fabulous watches in the most fantastic forms, such as animals, flowers, fruit and musical instruments. Each has a hidden switch to reveal the actual watch. Almost all the watches and jewellery are made of gold, decorated with diamonds, gems and enamel. The show features watches from Switzerland, snuff boxes from France and carved cameos from Italy.