This talk already passed. Subscribe to get an email when Gardiner Museum adds a new talk.

Versailles: The Porcelain Palace

Wednesday, June 8th at 6:30pm 11 months ago
Among the objects and materials that shaped the original splendor of Versailles, ceramics have almost entirely disappeared from the palace, today represented only by a few pieces of Sèvres porcelain, a small fragment of the collection that once adorned the famed French palace. It’s often forgotten that while the royal porcelain manufactory at Sèvres was indeed highly prized by the French monarchy, it was not established until well into Versailles’ history, and that other incredible examples of ceramics figured prominently within the palace, such as Chinese porcelain, Meissen, and French porcelain from the manufactory of Saint-Cloud.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, however, Versailles had been transformed into a showcase for the incredible variety of objects produced at Sèvres, including vases, porcelain figurines, clocks, and tableware, beginning with the first dinner service commissioned by Louis XV in 1753. The King himself was the manufactory's most ardent supporter, organizing an exhibition of the latest objects from Sèvres at the end of each year to be held in his own apartments. The eminence of Sèvres at Versailles reached its height at the marriage of Louis-Auguste and Marie-Antoinette, whose wedding table was adorned with a white porcelain surtout in the shape of a colonnade.

Curator at the musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau between 1993 and 1995, Bertrand Rondot was then appointed Head of the 17th - 18th Centuries Collections Department at the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris where he worked on a new display of the museum’s galleries. Rondot was also in charge of the collections of the musée Nissim de Camondo. He has been working at the château de Versailles since 2007 as Chief Curator for Furniture and Works of Art.

He curated, among others, the exhibitions Discovering the Secrets of Soft-Paste Porcelain at the Saint-Cloud Manufactory, ca 1690-1766 in 1999 in New York, Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon in 2007 in San Francisco, and Le château de Versailles raconte le Mobilier national – Quatre siècles de création in 2011.
Already have an account? Log in