H.P. Mutters and son, The interior of the Fokker F.XII, special design for the Holland-Indië journey, 1932, Municipal archive The Hague.

Horrix and Mutters, 140 Years of Dutch Furniture Design for Royalty

H.P. Mutters and son, Dining chairs with leather upholstery, 1872, National museum Paleis Het Loo, Apeldoorn, photography: Philip Beltman.

H.P. Mutters III, Royal cradle, gift to Queen Wilhelmina by the inhabitants of The Hague and other municipal authorities of the province South-Holland, except Rotterdam, in honour of the birth of princess Juliana, 1909, Royal archive, The Hague.

H.P. Mutters and son, inspired by the ir.S. van Ravensteyn design the salon on board of the royal yacht Piet Hein, 1937, Private archive.

Picture of princess Juliana with newborn princess Maria Christina, accompanied by princesses Beatrix, Irene and Margriet and by Queen Wilhelmina, on the right is the cradle designed by H.P. Mutters III, 1947, Royal Collections, The Hague.

 

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Stadhouderslaan 41
+ 31 (0)70 3381111
The Hague
Horrix and Mutters:
Two Hague Firms
of Furniture Manufacturers
By Appointment

September 18-
December 12, 2010

In the 19th century, Hague firms Mutters and Horrix were two of the leading furniture manufacturers in the Netherlands. Regular orders from the royal family won both companies the right to add the epithet Koninklijk (Royal) to their names — the Dutch equivalent of "by appointment." Their high-quality designs and royal seal of approval attracted a wealthy and noble clientele. This exhibition offers a fascinating picture of two typical Dutch family firms and brings to life an episode in the history of Dutch interior design in settings ranging from private homes to (in the case of Mutters) ships.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a cradle designed and built by Hermanus Pieter Mutters III for Princess Juliana. It was commissioned in 1909 by a committee of residents of The Hague and the other municipalities of the province of South Holland (except Rotterdam), who wished to mark the birth of the crown princess with a special gift. This classic cradle become a much-loved family possession; Juliana later used it for her own children, and Princess Ariane slept in it only recently. The firm of Horrix also received a number of commissions from and for the royal family. A fine example is the elegant divan de milieu, a set of six separate chairs forming a circular settee, specially made for the palace of Prince Frederik on Korte Voorhout in The Hague.

In 1870-1871 Horrix was asked to furnish the principal floor (bel-etage) of the famous club De Witte on The Hague’s Plein. Each room was to have its own style, inspired by its function. The Large Salon, used for conversaziones, was furnished in the Baroque style of Louis XIV. The smaller salon was given a more sober interior, while the gaming room was designed with a playful flourish. Many of the fixtures have survived intact; unfortunately the same does not apply to most of the furniture. Yet it is easy to reconstruct the club’s original appearance from photos and the pieces of furniture that have been preserved, and the exhibition brings De Witte back to life, recreating its 19th-century glory days.

Another major commission for Horrix was to furnish the Blue Room in Borg Ekenstein, a mansion in Groningen — an interior that now forms part of the furnishings at Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren. Horrix designed the room in Rococo style. The two beds with their shared canopy, the two dressing tables and bidet will soon be on show in their original configuration at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The fact that W.C.A. Alberda van Ekenstein, a nobleman living in distant Groningen, called on a Hague firm to manufacture his furniture shows the extent of Horrix’s reputation.

An entirely different class of furniture was produced in the 20th century by the fourth generation of the Mutters family. Designed for planes, trains and ships, these pieces were much lighter and less ornate than the classic furniture traditionally made by the firm. Mutters designed chairs and even bunk beds for Fokker’s planes, as well as entire cabins and salons for ocean liners and exclusive furniture for private yachts.

A richly illustrated catalogue featuring contributions by Titus M. Eliëns and Joshua van Scherpenzeel will be published to accompany the exhibition (Waanders, €32.50).

H.P. Mutters III, Royal cradle, gift to Queen Wilhelmina by the inhabitants of The Hague and other municipal authorities of the province South-Holland, except Rotterdam, in honour of the birth of princess Juliana, 1909, Royal archive, The Hague.

 

Horrix, divan de milieu, mahogany wood with silk upholstery, circa 1852, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.