The decorative arts were fundamental to the development of early-modern European Empires. Nations competed for dominance of key ports and trade routes, and imported finished goods and raw materials to satisfy the increasingly diverse desires of their growing populations. They developed new cultures of consumption around commodities such as tea and coffee, and engaged in dialogues about national identity which were framed by global produce. This weekend event will explore how the decorative arts shaped, and were shaped by, the development of trade and Empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Looking closely at objects, materials and styles, we will explore how imported goods such as chintzes from the Indian subcontinent, and new goods such as tea wares from East Asia were adopted by ordinary people, as well looking at the development of elite taste. We will focus in depth on porcelain, silver, furniture, and textiles, considering how international connections fostered stylistic exchange. We will also consider how Europeans whose fortunes were made in the colonies used the decorative arts to proclaim their status and secure their reputation in their home countries.
Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 UTC on 13 March 2024.