A CENTURY OF FRENCH ELEGANCE
Exhibition from the State Hermitage Museum at the Biennale des Antiquaires, Grand Palais, Paris, 10 – 18 September 2016
Ah, Paris in September! Hop on the Eurostar to take in this little gem of a show at the Biennale des Antiquaires, in the Grand Palais. 34 fantastic pieces from one of the best collections of the French decorative arts in the world (outside France itself, of course) illustrate the age of French elegance, the eighteenth century, when everything French set the trend in fashion, lifestyle and furnishings across Europe.
In the eighteenth century Russia was just entering the European scene and French fashion was eagerly taken up by the owners of the new palaces that were being erected in St Petersburg in large numbers. Russian emperors and other connoisseurs commissioned porcelain, silverware and bronze from Paris; the emperors received numerous pieces as diplomatic gifts.
Among the glamorous objects on display in Paris are
Claude Ballin's glorious table centrepiece of 1723-1724 and a fantastic ice-cream bowl from the Sèvres Cameo Service of 1778-1779
How about a loopy gondola-shaped potpourri vase from Vincennes of 1756 or Demailly's inkstand of 1775-1778?