In Pursuit of the Exquisite: Royal Sévres from Versailles to Harewood
18 April – 2 November 2014
Charting the incredible story of the highly-prized Sèvres porcelain, from its manufacture in France to its display in Yorkshire.
Still in production today, the Sèvres factory first opened in 1740 and over the last 274 years has created some of the finest porcelain Europe has ever seen.
Sèvres porcelain was collected obsessively by aristocratic and royal patrons including King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. After their execution in 1793 works from the Royal Palaces at Versailles were sold and many of the finest pieces found their way to England.
The objects in this display have borne witness to some of the most dramatic events in French history; from the downfall of their original owners, to the tumult of the revolution, as well as surviving transportation from Versailles to Leeds.
Included are some of the incredible pieces once owned by the 1st Earl of Harewood Edward Viscount Lascelles, who created a collection that was said to rival that of the Prince Regent – later King George IV.
The exhibition has been guest curated by leading Sèvres expert, Dame Rosalind Savill.
Harewood is also showing work by three contemporary artists that responds to the Sèvres story. Dan Scott uses video and sound to examine the idea of the objects as silent witnesses to the life of Queen Marie Antoinette. Meanwhile, Michelle Taylor and Livia Marin transform every-day china into unique artworks.