(Picture courtesy of the
Stedelijke Musea Brugge)
This most diverse of all the
Bruges Museums is situated in the 'House of Gruuthuse' which belonged in
the late Middle-Ages to the family Van Brugghe-van der Aa, a.k.a the
lords of 'Gruuthuse'. This family owned the monopoly of 'Gruut'
selling. Gruut was a medieval mixture of spices used to make beer. The
present antiques and art collections were started in 1865 by the
'Archeological Society' of Bruges. In 1955 the city of Bruges acquired and
expanded the collection and the museum.
The collection consists of objects in different materials: wood
(crucifixes, fragments of altarpieces), ivory, stone and marble (the Baroque
memorial of the English king Charles II from 1659). The showpiece of this
collection is the very realistic polychrome bust from 1520 of Emperor
Charles V of Habsburg at the age of 20, probably made by Konrad Meit.
Furniture objects can be seen here in various styles and types. Some
furniture dates from the Gothic period (trunks and cupboards). Most of the
collection, however, dates from the 17th and 18th century and show
beautifully carved wooden ornaments.
Religious silver objects, as well as silver ware used for domestic
purposes. An important collection of Corporation Silver ware from the 16th
till the 19th century.
The former kitchen (with the original 15th century fireplace and
chimney of the 'Gruuthuse' family) can still be visited. All the metal
objects of the museum which are not made of the precious metals silver and
gold are exposed here: candelabers, pots, pans, lamps, kichten utensils,
etc. Elsewhere in the museum is another collection of metal objects which
were mainly made for religious purposes.
This extensive collection cannot be exposed entirely, due to lack of
space. Earthen ware and ceramics from most of the important European
production centers (Brussels, Delft, Northern-France, Germany ) are in the
possession of the museum. Some objects come from the nearby town of Torhout,
which was also famous for its ceramics.
The most attractive art objects here are the 17th century wall
tapestries made in Bruges. The famous and prestigious lace collection of the
museum has been transferred to the adjacent 'Brangwynn museum'.
To complete the 'Gruuthuse'
treasury, one can also visit the 'numismatics' collection (only partially
exposed) and the small musical instruments cabinet.
Dijver 17 - 8000 Brugge