Dutch silver caster and mustard pot

  • zilveren specerijenset, Christiaan Rijke (Riecken), Boxmeer, jaarletter Y (1773)
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Dutch silver caster and mustard pot

Christiaan Rijke (Riecken)

Boxmeer, date letter Y (1773) 

392 grams; 17,2 cm high


The spirally fluted baluster-shaped caster and mustard pot are raised on a spirally fluted domed foot. The high-domed hinged cover with thumb rest of the mustard pot is engraved in similar outline to the pierced motifs of the cover of the caster, both with bell-shaped finials. The mustard pot is fitted with a silver scroll handle. Struck with maker’s mark and a date letter at the reverse of the body.


Christiaan Rijke (Riecken) (1727-1811), son of Bernardus Riecken, a master baker, and Maria van Weert, was christened in St Elisabeth’s church in Grave. It is not recorded from whom and where he received his training as a silversmith. However, it is likely that he was trained by Rabanus Raab, a silversmith in Boxmeer, from ca.1743 onwards and that he stayed in Boxmeer.


In 1755 he married Clara Strick in Boxmeer and started a workshop next to the Council Hall, Steenstraat 31. The couple had eleven children, of whom three sons also became silversmiths. The eldest son Bernard became an apprentice in Johannes van Dungen’s workshop in Den Bosch (Bois-le Duc). Antoon Hubert and Joseph were trained by their father Christiaan Rijke himself.


His spouse Clara, whose parents supported the couple, was born into a rich family. Christiaan bought real estate and patches of land. By 1810 he was registered as a silversmith with fortune, ‘orfèvre avec fortune’.


At the Age of 84 he died in Boxmeer 17 August 1811 and had a grand burial. His widow is said to have paid 62 guilders en 8 ‘stuivers’. During his career as a silversmith Christiaan Rijke made objects for churches and guilds, and also profane silver objects.

Among Christiaan Rijke’s liturgical objects are a silver chalice (1760) in St Jan the Baptist Church in Sambeek, a monstrance (1782) St Boniface Church in Rijswijk and a canon board (1755) in St Peter’s Church in Boxmeer. Examples of his profane silver objects are this set, consisting of a caster and a mustard pot (1773), a salver of the same date and a teapot with wood handle (1768/69) and a tea chest with three silver caddies (1787), which is now in the collection of Noord Brabants Museum, Den Bosch.


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Associate literature:

-Manuscript Drs. H.J. van Cuijk over Boxmeerse Edelsmeedkunst, augustus 1996

– Herman Jan van Cuijk, De Boxmeerse zilversmedenfamilie Raab, in De Stavelij, jaarboek 2005, Nijmegen, 2005