Tom Stammers on Jean-Charles Davillier

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on June 21, 2016

Thomas Stammers | Baron Jean-Charles Davillier: A Paragon
and Historian of Taste in Nineteenth-Century France
The Wallace Collection, London, 25 June 2016

unnamedThe French Porcelain Society is delighted to announce this year’s Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue Memorial Lecture to be presented by Dr. Thomas Stammers, Durham University, entitled “Baron Jean-Charles Davillier: A Paragon and Historian of Taste in Nineteenth-Century France.”

Baron Jean-Charles Davillier (1823–83) was a pioneering figure in the Second Empire, not simply through his forays into neglected fields—such as Spanish decorative arts—but also through the self-consciousness and erudition he brought to the study of collecting. His landmark publications on the celebrated cabinets and sales of the old regime demonstrate how nineteenth-century amateurs situated themselves in a lineage stretching back, across the revolution, to the ancien régime. This paper situates Davillier within the context of French mid-century collecting, characterized by its expanding geographical reach and heightened emphasis on selection and discernment. It will consider his methods and sources as an historian, and relate his scholarship to both other nascent attempts to write the history of collecting, and to wider cultural politics, not least the violent events of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune. It will conclude by considering Davillier the patriot, and the controversy that engulfed the donation of his collections to the Louvre and to Sèvres in 1883. Davillier’s career and research are central for understanding how French porcelain was revered as both an aesthetic and technical marvel, and also as an historical document.

Tom Stammers is a cultural historian of France from the Revolution down to the end of the nineteenth century.

The free lecture will be held at The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN, on Saturday 25 June 2016 at 7:00–8:00pm. To reserve a place, please email fpsmailing@gmail.com.


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