New Book | Porcelain Pugs

Posted in books by Editor on April 8, 2020

Published by Mercatorfonds and distributed by Yale UP:

Claire Dumortier and Patrick Habets, eds., with a foreword by Julia Weber, photography by Hughes Dubois, and contributions by A. Reyes, Ulrich Pietsch, Sarah K. Andres-Acevedo, Hans Ottomeyer, Roland Hanke, Marie-Laure de Rochebrune, and Barbara Beaucamp-Markowski, Porcelain Pugs: A Passion, The T. & T. Collection (Brussels: Mercatorfonds, 2020), 224 pages, ISBN: 9780300246537, $60.

A superb collection of 18th-century porcelain pugs is showcased here alongside historical and artistic context for the beautiful objects.

A treasure trove for dog-lovers and porcelain enthusiasts alike, this book celebrates a collection of more than 100 porcelain pugs, most of which were designed in the mid-18th century by Johann Joaquim Kändler, the eminent modeler in the Meissen porcelain factory in Germany. Stunning new photography of the objects is accompanied by essays that place the figures in their historical and artistic context. Pugs were introduced to Europe in the late 16th or early 17th century and quickly gained popularity among the European aristocracy thanks to the animals’ even temperament and sociability. In 1740, a secret society called the Order of the Pug was established as an offshoot of the Freemasons; the pug was selected to represent the society due to its reputation for reliability, trust, and steadfastness. Also featured here is a survey of pug imagery in contemporary European decorative arts, including on snuff-boxes, flasks, and cane handles.

Claire Dumortier is honorary curator of the ceramics collections of the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels. Patrick Habets is emeritus professor of the Catholic University of Louvain.

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