Art technological sources are of great value to conservators and (technical) art historians as they provide a unique insight into the production process of cultural heritage objects, the materials used to create them and the methods that were applied in the 18th century to maintain precious metal objects. Willem van Laer’s Guidebook for upcoming gold- and silversmiths (1721) is an exceptional example of this, being the only published 18th century silversmithing manual in Western Europe. An interdisciplinary team of experts has been assembled to translate the text and annotate its contents in an effort to better understand 18th century gold- and silversmith practices. A dedicated website will be launched and symposia organized in an effort to disseminate the knowledge and insights accumulated by the project.
Engravings from van Laer’s Weg-Wyzer (1721), depicting tools and other equipment used in the 18th century silversmithing craft.