1816 - 1816 – Splendid dinner set in honour of the marriage of Anna Pavlovna and William II

Marital portrait of Anna Pavlovna and William II (Jan Willem Pieneman, collection of the City Museum, Tilburg)


Sheer splendour

In 1816 William II, the eldest son of King William I, marries Anna Pavlovna of Russia, sister of Russian Tsar Alexander I and granddaughter of Catherine the Great. This marriage forges a strong alliance between the Oranges and the powerful Romanovs.

After the glorious wedding ceremony in Saint Petersburg, the newlyweds pay a visit to Amsterdam, where 8 days of festivities are organised in their honour. Bennewitz & Bonebakker receive the commission to create a silver dinner set of no less than 419 pieces, including an eye catching triumphal arch. An angel on top of this magnificent showpiece holds the marital crowns over the heads of the bride and groom, who are seated in a triumphal chariot.


Triumphal arch, showpiece of the 1816 silver table set, ebony, height: 78 cm, length: 64,5 cm,
Royal Collection, The Hague


For Dutch standards, the exuberance and splendour of this dinner set is excessive, but Anna, who is accustomed to the pomp of the Russian court, must have felt right at home. She, herself, brings boxes full of riches from Russia: fabrics, jewellery, furniture, trinkets and even the complete décor for a church. Nonetheless, she is still very much impressed by the table set with the triumphal arch and becomes a loyal customer of Bonebakker.

Portrait of Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna by Nicaise De Keyser, 1850, Hermitage, St. Petersburg