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Treasures from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection

From March 5th to August 15th 2021, DIVA will be hosting the touring exhibition Masterpieces in Miniature: Treasures from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in LondonThis is the first time items from all categories of the Gilbert Collection will go on display on the European continent. Some objects, such as the sixteenth-century partridge cup, are exclusive to the Antwerp exhibition. 

About the exhibition

Masterpieces in Miniature is an ode to Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert’s impressive legacy and a chance for the public to admire these treasures from close to.   

As visitor you are plunged into the world of the Gilberts and their dazzling collection. You will make the acquaintance of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert and come to understand their collecting habits, travel with them as they go in search of exceptional craftsmanship and beauty and encounter famous historical figures such as the tsarina Catharine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Victoria.

The showpieces include a snuffbox belonging to Frederick the Great of Prussia, made of chrysoprase, a rare gemstone mined in Silesia and set with hardstones and diamonds. The diamonds were coloured by placing them over pale-pink, green and lemon-coloured metal foils. 

A magnificent collection

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection is a homage to exquisitely crafted objects, many in precious metals and often small in scale. The Gilberts spent over forty years amassing their collection of nearly 1000 items of fine silverware, gold (snuff)boxes, enamels and mosaics made in Europe between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. Their passion for craftsmanship and beauty resulted in a collection that is unparalleled today.  

The Gilberts

Arthur (1913-2001) and Rosalinde Gilbert (1913-1995) made their first fortune in the fashion industry in London in the 1930s. They swapped London for their newly designed villa in Beverly Hills and set up a successful property development business in America. A second success story soon followed. Their search for “beautiful things” to decorate their home soon developed  into a passion for collecting. The couple travelled the world looking for mosaics and the very best gold, silver and enamel objects.   

The desire to share their collection with others by putting it on public display was of real importance to the couple. In the 1970s the collection went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, before being transferred to Somerset House in London in 2000 and from there to its current home at the V&A. This is the first time items from all categories of the Gilbert Collection will go on display on the European continent. The collection will travel on from here to America and Asia. 



Masterpieces in Miniature – Treasures from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection

Beautifully illustrated catalog in small format capturing the scope and content of the exhibition. The book comprises an introduction, followed by an overview of a hundred magnificent works of art from the Gilbert Collection: silver and gold treasures, micromosaics, golden snuffboxes and enamel miniatures. The final chapters reveal aspects of the fascinating ongoing research into this world-renowned collection. Museum conservators and scientists reflect on the craftsmanship and techniques and on the efforts to uncover the provenance of desirable and decorative objects such as these, some of which conceal a troubling history.

Author: Alice Minter, with contributions by Jacques Schuhmacher and Joanna Whalley

You can purchase the catalogue in the museum for € 12 or order your copy from home (e-mail:

Specifications: 220 x 155 mm (portrait), Paperback (with cover flaps), 112 p., ca. 110 illustrations, English

Cover catalogue: Masterpieces in Miniature

Cover catalogue: Masterpieces in Miniature

Dries Otten (°1978) has been commissioned to design the set for Masterpieces in Miniature. The Antwerp-based interior architect, furniture and set designer is famous for his playful use of colour with historical references. He has already designed exhibition sets for the TextielMuseum, Bozar and Texture. 

Alice Minter, curator of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection - V&A
Jessica Eddie, assistant curator of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection - V&A

The V&A  
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity, spanning 5000 years of human creativity. It was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, its purpose is to champion creative industry, inspire the next generation, and spark everyone’s imagination. 

Practical details:

  • When: Friday March 5th to Sunday August 15th 2021
  • Where: DIVA, Suikerrui 17 – 19, 2000 Antwerp
  • Opening times: 10.00 – 18.00 hrs Mondays to Sundays, closed on Wednesdays
  • Ticket prices: standard ticket €12 per person
  • Catalogue: €12
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