Gilded Interiors: French Masterpieces of Gilt Bronze
Thursday 4th May, 2017 - Sunday 30th July, 2017
Price: Admission Free
In this special exhibition the Wallace Collection brings together outstanding objects from the late eighteenth century and demonstrates the extraordinary creativity of neoclassical design in this often overlooked area of decorative art.
Frequently designed by architects and modelled by celebrated sculptors as part of highly-refined interiors, gilt bronze was used to create beautiful yet functional objects such as clocks, candelabra and firedogs and to embellish furniture and porcelain. This exhibition highlights works by the great masters, including Pierre Gouthière, François Rémond and Claude Pitoin, many of which were commissioned by the wealthiest patrons and collectors of the day, such as Marie-Antoinette and the duc d’Aumont; even the Prince of Wales (later George IV) bought gilt bronze from Paris, and a pair of stunning firedogs made for Carlton House has been generously lent to the exhibition by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.
Displayed alongside these gilt-bronze masterpieces are contemporary drawings of Ancient Rome by a leading French architect, Pierre-Adrien Pâris. Minutely detailed and beautiful objects in their own right, these drawings, which have never before been shown in the UK, help to illustrate the way in which the Antique provided so much of the design inspiration for neoclassical decorative art.
Inspired by the exhibition, this film features a commissioned poem by street poet Emrys Plant
Candlestick, Claude-Jean Pitoin, 1781, detail. © The Wallace Collection Candelabrum, Possibly François Rémond, France, 1783 – 1786 © The Wallace Collection Table, attributed to François Rémond, 1785 – 1787, detail. © The Wallace Collection Perfume Burner, Pierre Gouthière, 1774 – 1775, detail. © The Wallace Collection Mantel clock, Jean-Baptiste Lepaute, 1781, detail. © The Wallace Collection Pierre-Adrien Pâris, Chambranle de la cheminée en marbre blanc chez M. le duc d'Aumont