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10 Jun 2015 - 16 Aug 2015

The University Museum and Art Gallery is truly honoured to collaborate with the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres to present this major exhibition of Sèvres porcelain and to invite visitors to discover the extraordinary history of the manufactory and the artistic quality and work methods of its world-famous kilns. Since the 18th century, the quest for perfection in ceramic manufacture has seduced royalty, aristocrats and connoisseurs all over the world, including dignities such as the Emperors of Qing China. Until today, the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres uses meticulous quality as the guiding principal for the selection of artists and contemporary works.

A successor of the Vincennes porcelain manufactory, the factory at Sèvres, near Versailles, has made both soft- and hard-paste porcelain from 1756 until the present. First patronised by King Louis XV, his courtiers and, especially, his mistress Madame de Pompadour, Sèvres became a leader in fashionable artistic ceramics and a luxury trademark at the Versailles and Louvre palaces.

With more than 120 pieces, this exhibition exemplifies the remarkable artistry of the Sèvres manufactory and showcases finely made porcelain designed by some of the leading artists of their day. The painter François Boucher (1703-1770) and the sculptor Étienne-Maurice Falconet (1716-1791), who directed Sèvres’ modelling atelier between 1757 and 1766, became involved in the enterprise during the ancien régime, and multiple generations of talented designers and artistic director contributed since to the manufactory’s prestige.

Our display introduces the development of style, form and colour, and highlights the manufactory’s celebrated tradition of using, for example, biscuit white and royal blue. The accompanying catalogue endeavours to present additional context and to describe, among other topics, the royal patronage and scientific advances, which paved the way for the long and innovative production of porcelain objet d’art that have become icons of fashion and taste.


Michele De Lucchi

Coppa della mistica

 Glazed porcelain, gilded bronze


 42.9 x 19 cm


Etienne-Maurice Falconet


 Biscuit porcelain


77.5 x 36.5 x 70 cm

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