« Vetus admodum res est mercari. sed & sapere. ut nesciam, an à Sapientia profectam esse mercaturam, an ab hac Sapientiam fluxisse, statuere debeam. Illud certum, mutuam semper operam haec studia praestisse, cum sine mercium permutatione humanis necessitatibus consuli non posse sapientes crediderint, & per eandem rursus magnis incrementis ad prudentiam iri in confesso sit. »

«Commerce is very ancient, but no more so than the search for wisdom ; Who can say whether wisdom arose from commerce or commerce from wisdom ? What is certain is that they have a mutual evolution, since according to philosophers, without the trading of goods one cannot provide for human needs, but by the same token, it is through trading that we make advances in wisdom…”

Caspar BARLAEUS: « LE MARCHAND PHILOSOPHE » ou DISCOURS sur l’union du commerce et de la philosophie, tenu à l’occasion de l’inauguration de l’Ecole Illustre d’Amsterdam, le 9 janvier 1632. (Catherine Secrétan: texte et traduction, Honoré Champion 2002, Paris)


To present ones work through the light of Caspar BARLAEUS is to raise the bar such that only great patience and rigour can forestall the accusation of pretention. The Mercator Sapiens is not a cultural pretention so much as an emblem of commerce in it’s most interesting and promising sense. It doesn’t try to give a new meaning to commerce, nor to clothe it as something new; rather to make sure the object is correctly described. The object here being the musical instrument: Not only a technical, historical and symbolic object, but also a work of art. It gives rise to argued discussion as well as being itself subject of discussion; it isn’t the object itself which changes, but the meaning we give it. In interpreting and presenting the object, the antique-dealer likes to cast a spell, so that those who have the good fortune to enjoy the object will be enchanted. The pleasure of understanding it’s sense, it’s meaning allows full rein of the development of that of the senses: the sensations of surprise, delight and contentment in encountering the item. At least that is how I choose to see it! So this is why I deliberately try to present these quality pieces, from all social levels, in the hopes that this will not be taken amiss.

You are welcome…

(to be continued…)