Exhibition: A Subersive Art – Prints of the French Revolution

Posted in exhibitions by Freya Gowrley on August 26, 2011

This exhibition, held at Waddesdon Manor, elaborates upon the the PhD research of co-curator, Claire Trevien (“Revolutionary Prints as Spectacle”). As she describes it, the thesis “undertaken at the University of Warwick, aspires to investigate the notion of spectacle and theatricality within the visual culture of the French Revolution. The aim of the thesis is to not reduce prints to simple historical witnesses or illustrations conveniently presented to suit an argument. Instead, it is a study of the metaphors used in the prints, a method that sheds new light on the links that exist between theatre, politics and visual culture during the French Revolution.” FG

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From Waddesdon Manor:

A Subversive Art: Prints of the French Revolution
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

Isaac Cruikshank, “The Martyrdom of Louis XVI, King of France” 1 February 1793 (Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection)

Curated by Paul Davidson and Claire Trévien

This display features an extraordinary collection of prints about the French Revolution, acquired by Baron Ferdinand. Bound into four large volumes, they record major events (such as the storming of the Bastille and the executions of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette), but also some of the more ephemeral episodes, often with a highly satirical, political eye. The prints are being catalogued as part of a collaborative research project with the Universities of London (Queen Mary) and Warwick, and will eventually be available to study online.

In addition to the display on the second floor, visitors will be able to follow a trail around the house, highlighting objects depicting or associated with significant figures of the French Revolution. The wealth of French material at Waddesdon reflects the interest of the Rothschild family in that turbulent period of history.


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