Sat 19 Jan 08 - Sun 06 Apr 08
The Bowes Museum is offering visitors a taste of the Orient with a special showcased display of objects celebrating the influence of Chinese design, to acknowledge the year of the Beijing Olympics.
Ceramics from the Museum’s significant collections will be on show from Saturday 19 January until Sunday 6 April 2008, highlighting pieces depicting the Chinoiserie influence as well as objects in other media which illustrate this distinctive style.
The term Chinoiserie comes from the word ‘chinois’, the French for Chinese. It was a style inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries that was at its height from 1750 to 1765. Imported porcelain, silk and lacquerware from China and Japan became extremely fashionable, leading European designers to imitate the style or create fanciful imagery of an imaginary China. Chinoiserie media also includes ‘japanned’ ware, an imitation of the glossy lacquer surface favoured in Japan.
The selection of ceramics on show will feature the ever-popular ‘Willow’ pattern alongside examples of English and French porcelain resplendent with oriental imagery. Other items include an embroidery panel, an oil painting and a stylish gilt-bronze fish.
The display is complemented by The Road to Xanadu in which Dr Barbara Morden examines the taste for the Oriental from the 17th to the 19th Centuries. This illustrated lecture, on February 14 from 2.00 – 4.00, explores the impact of travellers’ tales and artefacts from the Orient on the art and taste of Britain between those dates.
“The word Chinoiserie was used to describe a particular style of gardening, wallpaper, embroideries and textiles, ceramics, furniture, architecture, and all manner of fantasies and dreams inspired by the East,” she said. “So join us on a journey of exploration to the land of giant peonies, small folk in conical hats, and long tailed ho-ho birds, that is to be discovered somewhere beyond the rising sun.”
Entry to the Chinoiserie display is included in the price of admission to the Museum. Dr Morden’s lecture costs £10 for adults, £9 concessions, and £4 for the Friends of The Bowes Museum, including admission. Booking is required.