Madame de Pompadour and the Porcelain Power of the Mistress
Professor Dame Rosalind Savill DBE, FBA, FSA
Louis XV’s most famous mistress used her passion for Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain to enhance her personal, public and political roles in mid-eighteenth century France. This talk will examine pieces which would have delighted the King, embellished her glamorous interiors, and served as diplomatic gifts to secure her position at home an abroad.
Image: A pair of Sèvres porcelain Vases for pot-pourri or for growing bulbs (vases 'pot pourri à dauphin'), 1760. Probably acquired by Madame de Pompadour and now in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch.
The Power of Collecting. The Kunst- und Wunderkammer of Archduke Ferdinand II at Ambras Castle
Dr. Veronika Sandbichler
The Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand II was a member of one of the most important ruling dynasties of 16th-century Europe. Diplomatic gifts and exotic objects from Africa, India, China, Japan and the Ottoman Empire entered his famous Kunst- und Wunderkammer.
A taste for the exotic in Florence and its impact on early Doccia porcelain (1737-1757)
Dottoressa Andreina d’Agliano
Cobalt blue was the main enamel colour used on the earliest of the Ginori porcelain using “Stampino“ to imitate both Oriental blue and white and the soft paste Medici porcelain, made in Florence in 1575 at the Court of Francis l. Oriental ceramics were highly collected in Florence in the first quarter of the 18th century and were collected by the Gran Principe Ferdinando, Grand Duke Gian Gastone and the Electress Palatine Anna Maria and other important Florentine families such as the Gerini, Franceschi and Ginori. The lecture will compare the early Ginori porcelain and its iconographical relationship with oriental porcelain. It will also reveal the trade with the Middle Eastern market through corroboratory 18th century documents from the Ginori archives.
Image: Manifattura Ginori, Doccia, Circa 1742-45, Musée Adrien Dubouché, Limoges
The Paston Treasure: Riches and Rarities of the Known World
Dr Francesca Vanke FSA
In the mid-seventeenth century the Norfolk Paston family owned a kunstkammer collection of princely proportions. A fraction of their collection is recorded in the contemporary Dutch School painting, The Paston Treasure.
This paper will discuss recent research into the lost collection, and the unique current exhibition which explores the Pastons’ world, brings objects back together and sheds new light on the enigmatic painting itself.
Image: The Paston Treasure, c1665, Unknown artist, Dutch School, Oil on canvas, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
Credit: Norfolk Museums Service
Thomas Jefferson: Planting the Arts in America
Leslie Greene Bowman
Thomas Jefferson is most famous as the American Founding Father who authored the Declaration of Independence. Yet he deemed the arts essential to the new nation, and drew upon his years in Paris to influence art and architecture. Bowman will illuminate Jefferson's seminal role as a global citizen and founding tastemaker.
Image: Goblet, silver and silver gilt, designed by Thomas Jefferson, commissioned of Odiot, made by Claude-Nicolas Delanoy, Paris, 1789
Power of knowledge, wealth of beauty – Stories of enlightened collecting in Vienna, circa 1790
Dr. phil. Claudia Lehner-Jobst
Celebrating the 300th anniversary of Vienna porcelain with one of its most successful periods, this lecture explores the influential network of the city´s enlightened elite at the dawn of radical change and challenge. Exquisite new interior designs correspond with contemporary art collections and dinner tables, promoting philantropy, progress and beauty on all levels of life and living.
Admiral Lord Nelson, Ottoman Diplomacy and the Chelengk Jewel
Lord Nelson’s diamond Chelengk or ‘Plume of Triumph’ is one of the most famous jewels in British history. Presented to the admiral by Sultan Selim III of Turkey after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, the jewel had thirteen diamond rays, to represent the ships captured at the battle, above a wreath (çelenk in Turkish) of enamel flowers centred with a rotating Ottoman star powered by clockwork. Entirely mounted en tremblent, the Chelengk was a dynamic and spellbinding achievement of Ottoman goldsmithing. Highly-cultivated, Selim used the precious jewel to help forge an alliance with the British against French aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean which threatened his sprawling empire. Loaded with meaning, it was the first such Islamic reward to a non-Muslim military leader and caused a sensation back in England. Nelson adopted the Chelengk as his heraldic crest, wearing it on his naval hat like a Turban jewel sparking a fashion craze but earning the disapproval of George III. Endlessly reproduced in the many portraits and representations of England’s greatest naval hero, the Chelengk became Nelson’s trademark, a glittering emblem of the short-lived treaty between east and west.
Stolen from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich in 1951 the jewel is now lost, presumed destroyed. This talk will explore the history of the jewel, its political context in the often-fraught relationship between London and Constantinople in the late eighteenth century, and how a remarkable drawing recently discovered at the College of Arms has enabled an exact replica to be made.
Image: Gold, diamond, ruby and enamel replica of the lost Chelengk with clockwork automation.
Sèvres porcelain given as diplomatic gifts to the Chinese Emperor by Louis XV and Louis XVI
Marie-Laure de Rochebrune
The Chinese Emperor, Qianlong (1711-1799), was given many pieces of Sèvres porcelain by Louis XV and Louis XVI. Most of it was sent to China at the instigation of Henri Léonard Bertin (1720-1792), a sinophile minister who was in charge of the Sèvres Manufactory. The speaker will discuss the different gifts sent to China that were mentioned in the Sales registers, and define the diplomatic, commercial, religious and scientific aims of the last two Kings of France a few years before the French Revolution.
Image: Charles Eloi Asselin (1743-1804), Portrait of the Emperor Qianlong, hard paste porcelain plaque, Sèvres manufactory, about 1776, painted for Louis XVI, Versailles Palace. A similar plaque was sent to Qianlong by Louis XVI
Count Brühl: Magnificent entertainment at the Saxon Court in Dresden
Count Heinrich Von Brühl was responsible for diplomacy and official entertainment at the Saxon court in Dresden during the mid-18th century. As director of the Meissen porcelain factory, he commissioned some of the first and most elaborate table centre-pieces ever to be made in porcelain.
Parts of three of such groups have recently been identified in the collection of the V&A Museum. This paper will illustrate the role of such commissions in court entertaining and diplomacy.
Image: Meissen porcelain factory, The Triumph of Amphitrite, modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler and others, 1745-1746, porcelain, 104 x 385 x 136 cm, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Routes to Royalty: How Chinese and Japanese Pieces Entered the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen
The large and diverse collection of Asian works of art in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen contains many superb works of art. Their attribution is strengthened by valuable secondary resources such as inventories, lists and accounts. The lecture will discuss pieces acquired by British monarchs from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.
Image: Green jade casket, 18th century. H: 19.5cm. Acquired by Queen Mary before 1922.
Some of the most magnificent events of the early sixteenth century were the receptions laid on for visiting ambassadors. These were punctuated by splendid entertainments, concluding with the exchange of costly gifts, usually of gold or silver-gilt. This talk examines the system and its wider implications.
Image: A golden papal rose exactly like that given to Henry VIII by Pope Leo X
Porcelain for the Emperors: Imperial Wares of the Song (960 – 1279), Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644 – 1911) Dynasties
Robert D. Mowry
Ceramics made expressly for the Chinese Imperial Court first came to the fore during the Northern Song period (960–1127) with ivory-hued Ding ware and celadon-glazed Ru ware. Guan ware, with its crackled, grayish-blue glaze, enjoyed Imperial favor during the Southern Song period (1127–1279), and brought to a close the long tradition of subtly hued monochrome-glazed ceramics as those most preferred at court. Beginning life as a relatively humble ware during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), blue-and-white porcelains had claimed pride of place among Imperial wares by the early decades of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Porcelains embellished with designs painted in overglaze enamels, which had appeared already during the Ming, soared to popularity during the Qing (1644–1911), their naturalistic, pictorial designs exquisitely mimicking paintings on paper and silk.
Image: Foliate Bowl with Fish-in-Lotus-Pond Décor, Chinese; Ming dynasty, Xuande period (1425–1435), Blue-and-white ware; porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue; with underglaze blue mark reading Da Ming Xuandenian zhi, Private Collection (Sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 5 April 2017, Lot 1)
Goldsmiths and diplomats; battles in silver between the Baltic courts
Philippa Glanville, FSA, OBE
Lord Raby’s massive silver wine cooler, now proudly displayed at Temple Newsam, triggered a reassessment of how the diplomats at the Prussian, Danish, Swedish, Russian and British courts competed to display increasingly large cisterns for wine. Its final flourish, the Kandler cistern now in St Petersburg, is perhaps the best known, but this story of costly competition, rooted in the 1690s and the Great Northern War, can now be demonstrated.
Image: The Raby Cistern. Supplied by the Jewel House of Queen Anne to Thomas Wentworth, as ambassador to the Court of Prussia, in 1705/6
Josiah Wedgwood's Ornamental sales to France through agents Dominique Daguerre and Henry Sykes
By 1787 Josiah Wedgwood's earthenware, or creamware, as well as his ornamental jasper and basalt had been exported throughout Europe for more than a decade. It seems from documents in the Wedgwood archives that French interest in Wedgwood's wares was particularly active just prior to the French Revolution, starting around 1785. Wedgwood employed two principal agents in Paris to look after French orders, marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre and an Englishman named Henry Sykes. Both agents dealt with earthenwares as well as ornamental jaspers and basalts but this talk will concentrate on the ornamental wares sold to the nobility and Royal Family.
Image: Console, 1787-90 made by Adam Weisweiler inset with Wedgwood medallion “Sacrifice to Peace”. The console was in the Baron Alfred de Rothschild collection, purchased by Henry Walters before 1931. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (65.18)
From Berlin with Love
Dr. Samuel Wittwer
Names of European nobility or Prussian Royal family members don’t surprise us when we look at the Porcelain gifts given by King Friedrich Wilhelm III. But other recipients such as William Wilberforce, the Viceroy of Egypt or Prince Demidoff are indeed surprising, mirroring Prussian political activities. Some of these activities will be discussed in the lecture.
Image: Vase depicting an elephant hunt, designed for Prince Consort Albert but finally given to the Viceroy of Egypt, KPM Berlin 1842; private collection, France