• Dutch silver jug, Johan Diederik Janssen, Amsterdam, 1766
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Dutch silver jug


Johan Diederik Janssen

Amsterdam, 1766

424 grams all in; 16 cm high


The spirally fluted baluster body, adorned with a moulded border around the neck, is raised on three scroll supports. The lid is hinged and moulded into a swirl. The scroll ebony handle terminates in a silver scroll mount. Fully marked at the reverse and displaying assay stripes.

Johan Diederik Janssen (Aurich ca. 1735-Amsterdam 1784) was Johannes Schiotling’s brother-in-law. The latter married Janssen’s sister Margaretha Sophia Janssen in 1763. Three years later in 1766 Johannes Diekerik Janssen became poorter (burgher) of Amsterdam, with an annotation that he ‘comes from Aurich and is a silversmith’. It is likely that he was admitted to the guild that same year, as described in literature (Citroen, 1975, no 428). However, in his biography (De Lorm 1999, pp. 445-446) it was assumed that he became a master in 1768.


Johan Diederik Janssen was a former witness at the wedding of his sister Margaretha Sophia Janssen and Johannes Schiotling in 1763. The previous year, in 1762, Johannes Schiotling from Gothenburg, had bought the Amsterdam citizenship in order to be admitted to the Amsterdam silversmiths’ guild. In May 1766 Johan Diederik Janssen joined Schiotling’s workshop, together with three other German silversmiths: Jan Arend, Wilhelmus Angenendt and Christoffel Mittscherlich. The latter was an excellent chaser. Initially, the partnership with his brother-in-law Schiotling might have been financially driven. It is obvious that Johan Diederik Janssen, even before he became poorter of Amsterdam, had been active at Schiotling’s workshop. After this formality in June 1766, obtaining ‘het poorterschap’, he most likely thereafter enrolled at the Amsterdam silversmiths’ guild, given the existing silver objects, dated 1766, and the referral of him as Mr Zilversmid at the poorter registration office in 1766.


In December 1768 he married Johannes Catarina Oortghijsen (Oortgijssen) from Amsterdam and lived at Egelantiersgracht. Presumably, the couple had only one son in June 1770, Johan Diederik. Johan Diederik  Janssen, the silversmith, was buried in the Oude Luthersche Kerk, Amsterdam on 21 May 1784. Catarina had already died and was buried in the same church on 17 May 1780.


In 1771 Schiotling, Janssen’s compagnon and brother-in-law, bought a house at Kalverstraat, opposite Heiligeweg in Amsterdam, where he opened a shop, a ‘kashouderij’. His workshop remained in Egelantierstraat. Schiotling’s two sons, Johannes Hendrik and Andreas also became silversmiths. After Schiotling’s death in 1799, his widow Margaretha and his son Andreas took over the workshop. Christopher Mittscherlich made a lovely double portrait of the couple in wax, which is now in the collection of the Amsterdam Museum and used to be in the Hartcourt Collections until 1993.


Johan Diederik Janssen’s oeuvre is not so extensive. It mainly comprises service work, flatware and a Sabbath’s lamp, dated 1772. The Schiotling-Janssen cooperation is striking in a 1768 similar milk jug, bearing the maker’s mark of Schiotling. It stands on similar supports and the body is similarly chased. Also the moulded lid displays similarities to the lid of the 1766 milk jug by Johan Diederik Janssen.Furthermore, a 1774 tobacco jar with a floral spray finial, struck with the maker’s mark of Johan Diederik Janssen, now in the Amsterdam Museum, is very well comparable to a 1776 tobacco jar by Johannes Schiotling, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The structure of both tobacco jars is similar.


From his ouevre it is known that Johan Diederik Janssen, until his death in 1784, has made various sorts of silver objects. It might be concluded that he did not only work in Schiolting’s workshop, but that he also had one of his own. This milk jug, dated 1766, the first year he worked as an Amsterdam silversmith, is therefore an early work by this master.



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Associate literature:

– J. R. de Lorm, Amsterdams Goud en Zilver, Zwolle, 1999

-Tent. cat., Johannes Schiotling, een Amsterdamse zilversmid (1730-1799) en zijn kring, Amsterdam 1976, p. 15, nr. 2.

-Tent. cat., Rococo in Nederland, Rijksmuseum, Zwolle, 2001, p. 146, nr. 65, p. 150, nr. 70.

– H. Vreeken, Goud en Zilver met Amsterdamse keuren, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Zwolle, 2003