Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo are the founders of the Museum of Bags and Purses, known in Dutch as Tassenmuseum Hendrikje. The couple used to roam antique markets at home and abroad. When they toured the English countryside over four decades ago, they discovered an 1820 tortoiseshell bag inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Immediately they were captivated by its beauty and handcraft, and thus this purse laid the foundation for the Museum of Bags and Purses. With over 5000 items the museum had the world’s largest collection of bags and purses by 2020.
Of course this first purse has always had a special place in Hendrikje’s heart, but her most favorite purse is the ‘Naughty Eve’. This snakeskin bag has a cut out ivory cover with a silver border showing Eve picking the apple from a tree in the Garden of Eden. Hendrikje found it in Amsterdam stashed away among old books, coffeepots and other antiques.
Her husband Heinz Ivo has a favorite bag too. It’s an English beaded bag from the 17th century
displaying the text ‘Remember the Pore, 1630’. In those days the well-off were encouraged not to forget their poor fellow men. The purse reminds one of the alms purses, known in France as aumônières, that were all the vogue with the well-to-do classes from the 1250s until the 1400s. These purses were filled with coins to hand out to the poor.
Sigrid Ivo, the daughter of the founders, who was for quite some time was the director of the
Tassenmuseum Hendrikje and is now the curator of the Ivo Collection, is an expert on the history of bags and purses in general and of the Ivo Collection in particular.
She loves a lot of the collection’s purses because of their quality, craftsmanship and uniqueness. But her favorite purse is an Art Deco aluminum bag with a synthetic cover. She likes the rectilinear and bright form of this French purse from around1930.