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Brittle Beauty

Reflections on 18th Century European Porcelain

A study of a private collection of European porcelain and the history of porcelain more broadly.

Brittle Beauty presents a superlative private collection of European porcelain—radical, rare, and in many cases, unique pieces assembled over thirty years. Lavishly illustrated and insightfully researched, the book showcases eighty vessels and sculptures and includes accounts of their patrons and former owners, many as eccentric as the works themselves.

One striking attribute of porcelain is its reflective glaze. Mirror-like in a wider sense, Brittle Beauty: Reflections on 18th Century European Porcelain examines the context in which this porcelain was created—including cultural, political, topographical, and ceremonial aspects. It also looks at related materials such as silver, textiles, and glass. The 18th century was the golden age of porcelain in Europe, which had previously been dependent on precious imports from the Far East. The discovery of the formula for hard-paste porcelain in Dresden in 1709 inspired the establishment of manufactories throughout the Continent and became a symbol of Enlightenment culture for every princely court. Featuring essays from several eminent scholars, this book features essays from several eminent scholars. It also showcases a wealth of stunning imagery from Sylvain Deleu, who expertly photographed the pieces, many for the first time.

240 pages | 140 color plates | 9 3/4 x 11

Art: European Art

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