During the eighteenth century, porcelain held significant cultural and artistic importance. This collection represents one of the first thorough scholarly attempts to explore the diversity of the medium's cultural meanings. Among the volume's purposes is to expose porcelain objects to the analytical and theoretical rigor which is routinely applied to painting, sculpture and architecture, and thereby to reposition eighteenth-century porcelain within new and more fruitful interpretative frameworks. The authors also analyze the aesthetics of porcelain and its physical characteristics, particularly the way its tactile and visual qualities reinforced and challenged the social processes within which porcelain objects were viewed, collected, and used. The essays in this volume treat objects such as figurines representing British theatrical celebrities, a boxwood and ebony figural porcelain stand, works of architecture meant to approximate porcelain visually, porcelain flowers adorning objects such as candelabra and perfume burners, and tea sets decorated with unusual designs. The geographical areas covered in the collection include China, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, Britain, America, Japan, Austria, and Holland.
Contents: Introduction, Alden Cavanaugh and Michael E. Yonan; Rethinking the Arcanum: porcelain, secrecy, and the 18th-century culture of invention, Glenn Adamson; The nature of artifice: French porcelain flowers and the rhetoric of the garnish, Mimi Hellman; Igneous architecture: porcelain, natural philosophy, and the rococo cabinet chinois, Michael Yonan; Marketing celebrity: porcelain and theatrical display; Heather McPherson; Balancing act: Andrea Brustolon's 'La Forza' and the display of imported porcelain in 18th-century Venice, Erin J. Campbell; The Queen's nécessaire, Alden Cavanaugh; Porcelain, print culture and mercantile aesthetics, Dawn Odell; Sugar boxes and blackamoors: ornamental blackness in early Meissen porcelain, Adrienne L. Childs; Ties that bind: relations between the Royal Academy of San Fernando and the royal porcelain factory of the BuenRetiro, Andrew Schulz; Selected bibliography; Index.