Dutch silver milk jug

  • Dutch silver milk jug, Alger Mensma, Amsterdam, 1752
About This Project

Dutch silver milk jug


Alger Mensma

Amsterdam, 1752

202 grams, 12 cm high


The baluster shaped milk jug, engraved with elaborate rocaille at the neck, is raised on three hoof supports. The partially engraved shaped rim incorporates the lip, engraved with a single leaf. The double scroll handle is engraved with rocaille at the top. Fully marked at the reverse and displaying assay stripes.


Alger Mensma (Leeuwarden 1682- Leeuwarden after 1757), is considered to be one of the leading silversmiths in Amsterdam during the first half of the 18th century. Alger was trained as a silversmith in his father Nicolaas’s workshop in Leeuwarden. Besides, he was trained by the well-known chaser Jurriaen Pool, as his father was in 1658. However, Alger went to Amsterdam, where he married Elisabeth Steenstraat in 1709. In 1710 he became poorter (burgher) of Amsterdam and became a member of the Amsterdam silversmiths’ guild. His father Nicolaas Mensma was a so-called service worker, as Alger was too. In 1730 Alger remarried.  After his second marriage to Sara van der Weide, the couple lived at Buiksloot. Alger Mensma stayed and worked in Amsterdam. Thereafter he returned to Leeuwarden, where he died after 1757. Alger Mensma’s maker’s mark, ‘a wild man with a club’, was derived from the family coat-of-arms.


From his remaining works it can be concluded that Alger Mensma received many important commissions. For example, in 1731 he made a huge silver cooler, commissioned by the Admiralty of Amsterdam, donated to Captain Cornelis Schrijver. In 1732 this same captain was given a large silver fountain, made by Alger Mensma, who received this commission from the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Both objects form a set, which is now in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


The Amsterdams silversmith Gerrit Boverhof made a similar jug, with similar handle and similar supports. In 1755 Alger Mensma also made a jug with similar handle and supports, engraved with the then fashionable rocailles. It is likely that both silversmiths (fellow guild members) made use of the same moulds.



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