Many purses and bags from the Ivo Collection (the collection of the former Museum of Bags and Purses Hendrikje) tell their own stories. Some of these purses came with a personal note telling something about the owner.
The collection features many examples of ‘bags with a story’. Sometimes they were made for a special occasion or a particular purpose, such as an alms bag (1630) to keep money in for the poor. Another example is a rare, green leather wallet embroidered with gilded silver thread (1806). On the inside one sees a painted picture of a young woman and an embroidered poem for her husband. Also part of the collection is an 1827 coin purse featuring the arrival of the first giraffe in France.
At other times a purse is unique because of the person wearing it. An example is one of Margaret Thatcher’s purses. When she was England’s prime-minister (1975 until 1990), she used this and other handbags to beat the table while making her case. The word ‘Handbagging’ is derived from this habit. It means the verbal and psychological pummeling of one’s colleagues or opponents.