Throughout the eighteenth century, France was a place of intense scientific enquiry and innovative research and one of the most exciting discoveries of the period was the successful manufacture of porcelain. Known as 'white gold', porcelain was produced for use in all aspects of fashionable public and private life; from banquets to boudoirs, from tea drinking to the toilette. Of all the factories in France, the most renowned was the Royal Porcelain Manufacture at Sevres. The protection of Louis XV and the patronage of his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, drew to Sevres the best alchemists, designers and artists in Europe. The porcelain they produced was unequalled in quality, design and decoration. This book explores the V&A's dazzling collection of French porcelain.
Christopher Maxwell is Assistant Curator in the Ceramics and Glass Section at the V&A. He has been closely involved with the redevelopment of the Ceramics Galleries and, in particular, the redisplay of the French ceramics.