In many ways, rococo design in the Netherlands was at a crossroads in the diaspora of rococo. During the era of Stadholder William of Orange, the region welcomed many Huguenot craftsmen and designers who fled France after the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. While a number of the French Protestant refugees left with William when he went with his wife Mary to become William III and Mary of England in 1689, many remained, constituting a highly skilled work force in an affuent country.
Rococo design enjoyed two primary patrons in the Netherlands: the merchants and burghers of Amsterdam, and the court ofWilliam IV in The Hague. The former tended toward robust, ebullient scrolls and decorated surfaces, the latter toward clean, undulating rococo forms, especially in silver. In The Hague, sculptor Jan Baptist Xavery (1697–1742) designed in 1734—the same year Meissonnier’s first prints were published in Paris—a series of marble overdoors featuring shell-like rocailles. Also in 1734,William IV married Anne of Hanover, sister of Frederick, Prince ofWales of England, a notable patron of rococo, thereby increasing connections with England. A cousin of Frederick the Great, the great rococo patron in Germany,William may have connected rococo with the elite status of his relatives.
Amsterdam, a very prosperous city, enjoyed considerable independence from The Hague, culturally and otherwise. Its influence spread through traveling craftsmen to other semi-autonomous cities, resulting in a variety of “democratic” rococo styles seen in architecture, silver, stucco, gilt wood and other furniture, leather decoration, and ceramics.