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10 june 2022 – 29 january 2023

Elegant Imbibing – Baroque Silver from a Basel Collection

How might we turn water into wine? Conjure the aromas of a festive spread? «Imbibe elegantly »? One of Switzerland’s most important private collections of Baroque silver is presented to the public for the first time in this special exhibition. A fascinating insight into the sheer variety of drinking vessels, their manufacture and use, it reveals that for all the differences, there are also parallels between imbibing today and imbibing 300 years ago.

Sailing ships filled with wine that «sail» across the table, Sturzbecher fitted with windmills and blowpipes, «miracle» wine cups and lidded jugs for up to 2.5 litres of warm beer – they are all vivid and entertaining testimonials to past drinking customs. These artfully designed silver vessels also tell of the functions for which they were made and their role as prestige objects. Another highlight is the silversmith’s workbench that helps to explain how these beautifully hand-crafted objects were made.

The over 150 silver vessels from the 16th to 18th century – among them many that are unique – are of an elegance that ennobles the act of imbibing. The exhibition thus sheds light on the many different facets of Baroque silverware and the cultural history of carousing.

The private Basel collection is published for the first time in the accompanying catalogue, a lavishly illustrated work published by the Christoph Merian Verlag.

The exhibition and catalogue were made possible thanks to the generous support of the collector.

The exhibition will be flanked by an extensive programme of events and can be experienced with the aid of an eGuide in German, English and French.


Exhibition catalogue

Elegant Imbibing

Baroque Silver from a Basel Collection


This publication sheds light on the highlights of the Basel private collection and situates them in their cultural-historical context. It provides fascinating insights into the culture of an era in which drinking together was more than just socialising. The book is available in German.

Published by

Sabine Söll-Tauchert für das Historische Museum Basel, Christoph Merian Verlag

With contributions by
Andrea Casoli, Jeanette Gutmann, Anne Hasselmann, Christian Hörack, Martin Sauter, Andreas Schuler, Lorenz Seelig, Sabine Söll-Tauchert, Karin Tebbe

Book in german available in the online shop.

Special Event

Insights into the goldsmith's workshop

Manufacturing processes of silver vessels

Martin Sauter presents:

Sun 02.10.2022 11.00–13.00

Sun 13.11.2022 11.00–13.00

Sun 11.12.2022 11.00–13.00

Sun 15.01.2023 11.00–13.00

You can find the whole programme here.


Expert tours

Overview of all expert tours (german)

Silver Treasures from a Private Collection in Basel: Wed 05.10.2022 12:30-13:15

Drinking Challenge - Highlights of the historical drinking culture: Sun 20.11.2022 11:00-12:30

It shines not only at Christmas time - Highlights of a prominent silver collection: Wed 07.12.2022 12:30-13:30


You can find the whole programme here.


Other guided tours

Overview of other guided tours

How did they manage to do that? - The production of silver vessels:
Wed 12.10.2022 12.30 - 13.15, Wed 25.01.2023 10.00 - 12.00

Wednesday Matinee: Drinking - A Need. Drinking more beautifully - An aesthetic pleasure:
Wed 19.10.2022 10.00 - 12.00

Elegant Imbibing - Silver treasures from a private collection in Basel:
Wed 11.01.2023 12.30 - 13.15



We offer individual tours as well.

You can find the whole programme here.


The exhibition and catalogue were made possible

thanks to the generous support of the collector.

Special exhibition in the Barfüsserkirche

Opening timesAdmission


Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00

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