FPS LIVING ROOM LECTURES
The French Porcelain Society continues its series of weekly online lectures with Dr. Iris Moon, Assistant Curator responsible for ceramics at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Iris Moon will explore the emergence of the Parisian porcelain manufacturer Dihl et Gérhard as an alternative to Sèvres, in connection with scientific developments at the beginning of the nineteenth century. We hope you can all join us!
– Iris Moon
Time: Saturday, 23 May 2020, 19:00PM London, UK (BST))
Members will receive an email invitation with instructions on how to join the online lecture. If you want to join, please contact us for more details on FPSenquiries@gmail.com.
FRAGILE TERRAINS: ALEXANDRE BRONGNIART IN REVOLUTIONARY PARIS
Alexandre Brongniart (1770–1847) is familiar to specialists of French porcelain as the great administrative reformer of Sèvres. When he became director in 1800, he brought the former royal manufactory back from the brink of extinction during the French Revolution. Little acknowledged is the fact that Brongniart’s own formation in the natural sciences took place in the turbulent context of revolutionary Paris. This presentation will explore how the city became the site of new scientific theories of the earth that influenced the porcelain made at the Paris-based firm Dihl et Guérhard, which emerged as a competitor to Sèvres, and Brongniart’s own understanding of porcelain. Significantly, Paris was the site of Brongniart’s most important publication with Georges Cuvier, the Essai sur la géographie minérologique du Bassin de Paris (1811), the first map that pictured the layered, geological strata of the city’s foundations. Once the cultural rival of courtly Versailles, Paris became a fragile terrain—the site of what Cuvier described as a “revolution on the surface of the earth,” which transformed the meanings of French porcelain.
Image: Dihl et Guérhard, Plate with marine subject, c. 1789–97. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (2018.143.1)