Exhibition | Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 3, 2021

Worcester Porcelain Manufactory, gilding attributed to Charlotte Hampton, Covered Dessert Tureen and Ladle from the ‘Bostock’ Service, ca. 1785–90, soft-paste porcelain (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Rienzi Collection, Museum purchase funded by Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III).

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Now on view at Rienzi:

Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England
Rienzi, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1 September 2021– 2 January 2022

The introduction of new materials and technological innovation in the 18th century sparked an increased demand for luxury objects and useful wares made of ceramics, glass, and metals. These technologies and techniques allowed manufacturers to create wares to appeal to a broader and more diverse audience. The Industrial Revolution affected not only how objects were made but also the organization of labor in workshops and factories. Behind famous names such as Josiah Wedgwood and Worcester Porcelain was a diverse, yet mostly unseen and nameless workforce composed of large numbers of women and children who were involved in various aspects of production and manufacture. Hidden Hands: Invisible Workers in Industrial England focuses on the many hands involved in the production of these wares. The exhibition also challenges established ideas about craftsmanship and artistic authorship.

Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, presents special exhibitions twice a year.

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