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Portrait of François Boucher, reception piece by Gustaf Lundberg for the Académie Royale de Peinture presented on January 28, 1741. Musée du Louvre

Born on this Day: François Boucher

Having caught the autumnal lurgy which seems to be making its way around the city at the moment, I was off work yesterday. This meant that I’ve been pipped to the post by the V&A’s Facebook page in marking the birthday of the French court painter, draughtsman and etcher François Boucher. I’ve refrained from changing […]

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Born on This Day: Augustin Pajou

The celebrated French sculptor Augustin Pajou was a contemporary of Clodion, Houdon and Pigalle but is today (despite his obvious skill!) not as well known outside of France as he perhaps should be. Born on 19th September 1730, Pajou grew up in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, then one of the poorer sections of Paris, the son […]

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Steel buttons: Coup de Bouton, etching by William Humphrey, c. 1777. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

The Brown Suit: Coup de Bouton!

In my last post I mentioned how ‘Anglomania’ influenced the adoption of darker colours for men’s daytime clothing among the middle and upper classes in late 18th-century France. This move towards a more somber palette brought about a dependency on buttons to create the maximum sartorial impact. A basic rule often seeming to be ‘the […]

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The upper-body of the suit, shown as it would have been worn with a cravat around the neck.

The Brown Suit: Anglomania

As well as illustrating a svelte figure, this wonderful brown suit also exemplifies staple day-wear fashions for the middle and upper classes in late 18th-century Europe. Its slim-fit, noticeably snug across the upper-body, and the height of the coat collar attest to the owner’s fashionable taste. The breeches reach over the knees and are a tighter fit than […]

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The Brown Suit: Audio Recordings

The other week I found myself in the Textile Conservation studios, a microphone in front of me, contemplating how much sweat may have soaked into a coat. I should quickly make it clear that it wasn’t a coat being worn by a perspiring colleague, but rather a very smart wool coat dating from the 1780s. […]

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Born on this Day: Charles-Louis Clérisseau

  Today our moment of ‘birthday-prompted’ attention is focused upon the artist, architectural draughtsman and antiquary Charles-Louis Clérisseau (1721-180). Clérisseau has been described as creating a vital link in the chain of architectural excellence that prevailed in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. He was sent to study at the French Academy in Rome in 1749, where he worked with […]

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World Dog Day

Given the attention I gave to ‘Museum Cat Day’ last month, I felt that it was necessary for me to even up the feline – canine representation on the blog as today is World Dog Day. The day’s title doesn’t include the word ‘museum’, I’ll grant you, but I do still have quite the pack […]

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Meissen woodpecker, Johann Joachim Kändler, Meissen porcelain factory  Germany. ca. 1740-1745. V&A C.1-1984

Researching & Writing a Gallery Book: Luxury Goods & Eyewitness Reports

Guest Post from Kirsty:   A change of voice for the blog this time, I’m Kirsty, a student on placement from the University of Glasgow. I’ve been working on the Europe Galleries project for a month. My main interest is 18th-century history, and I’ve studied it at university, so it’s been a great opportunity to […]

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Born on This Day: ‘The Winter Queen’ Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia

This day in 1596 saw the birth of Princess Elizabeth Stuart. Daughter of Anne of Denmark and James VI of Scotland (later James I of England), Elizabeth was the sister of Charles I of England and later became Queen of Bohemia. Elizabeth will have a visible presence in the new Europe Galleries in the form […]

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Relief portrait of Napoleon, wax on slate, Benedetto Pistrucci, France (Paris) or England (London), 1815. Bequeathed by Miss A.F. Long. V&A A.3-1940

Born on This Day: Napoleon Bonaparte

This day in 1769 saw the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte. Born in Corsica to a family with Italian noble ancestry, Napoleon went on to make his name one of the most famous in European history. In France he took power in a coup d’état of 1799, installing himself as First Consul and later had himself crowned emperor in […]

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