Design & Decoration S03 ep20 : Dirk Endlich, Endlich Silver, [Haarlem]
Interview with Dirk Endlich
Since 1969 John Endlich's gallery is located in the centre of Haarlem. His specialty is 17th, 18th and 19th century (mainly) Dutch silver, objects of vertu and gold. Throughout the last four decades he used his expertise, confidentiality and knowledge of the (inter-)national art market to accompany collectors in building their collection. He offers a big selection of silver used for the interior like candlesticks, teapots, brandy bowls, snuffboxes etc. Over the past 25 years, he sold important objects to renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. His son Dick joined in 2002 to provide for continuity in the future.
My name is Dick Endlich and we are in the stand of John Endlich Antiques and we are based in
Harlem in the Netherlands, 20km from Amsterdam and we are specialised in Dutch antique silver,
mainly from the 17th and 18th Century.
My grandfather started of my mother’s side, my mother passed away 15 years ago but she actually
took over from my grandfather so now I’m the third generation of this antique shop.
My grandfather emigrated to Canada after the Second World War, thought to build up a life over
there but he couldn’t really manage so he came back to Holland and he had to think of something
so he started dealing in antique and in jewellery. My father’s generation started to really specialise
in Dutch antique silver in the 80’s.
So when you specialise you are able to know all about that one particular thing, this is easier but
also better, you get better quality you get better information, it’s just specialised.
There are a lot of Dutch old master paintings in the world and it’s the same with Dutch silver, it,
Holland in the 17th and 18th Century was a big market and Dutch silver was exported to England,
one of our Kings at the end of the 17th Century also became the King of England so you can
imagine there was a lot of traffic in between those two countries and also don’t forget the Dutch
East Indian Trading Company who got really big in that time. Holland was able to become a big
manufacturer of art.
The Dutch are Calvinistic people and the English were interested and the French are not so our
ornaments are a way of making an object is very clean and sober, not any gilding or something like
that and the English silver is very outrageous on it.
I grew up with this and so when I was a young boy I saw my parents travelling around the world
taking us with them, going to auction houses and looking at nice things. I also like that, it’s not a 9
to 5 job.
You can of course go to university and learn the history of art. I studied it two years but I didn’t
finish it. I think this profession you learn it the best in practice. Just to see a lot of items, to
compare that with each other, to hold them in your hands, to feel it, to feel the quality after years
and years and years you get better and better and that’s the way you learn the business. When my
father wants to buy something and I don’t, I mean you can have a discussion but most of the time
we agree on that.
Maybe a nice story to tell, or a historical story, it was not a very expensive object, it was a coconut
traded by the inhabitants of an island in the Polynesian Islands when it was discovered as the last
discovered island by a Dutch ship[, a Dutch frigate in the 19th Century in 1825 and it has mounts,
silver mounts on it, carved into with a coat of arms and a piece of text which said that it was a
coconut from the island discovered by this and this ship and so on. We discovered it on a very
small auction house and it was in a big box with other junk actually, the people thought it was
nothing. We sold it yesterday but I can tell you that the Reich Museum in Amsterdam was also
interested in because of the story so those are discoveries.
I saw on ebay an item, it was Dutch 17th Century and a rare piece and I think it was in my second
or third year and I thought I’ve found something, it is really a discovery, I left a bid on it for a
couple of thousand euros which is of course a lot of money, no one else bid on it so I got it for I
think $50 and but when I got it I saw on ebay on another seller the same object and he showed
more pictures of the item and on the bottom of the item it said MOMAN, Museum of Modern Art
in New York and it was a replica so it’s kind of a fake but on the picture it looked real so I still
have it in the shop to remind me that you always have to be careful and that you have to know
what you’re doing but luckily enough it only cost me 50 or 70 euros.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Dirk Endlich, Endlich Silver, Haarlem