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Title: British dealers and the making of the Anglo-Gallic interior 1785-1853
Author: Davis, Diana
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 9584
Awarding Body: University of Buckingham
Current Institution: University of Buckingham
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the development, role and influence of British dealers in French decorative art between 1785 and 1853. It departs from the conventional art historical perspective of antiquarianism, as posited by Wainwright and Westgarth, repositioning the dealer not simply as a retailer, instrumental in transforming the decorative art of eighteenth-century France into the cherished 'antique', but as a producer. By analysing the new furniture, bronzework and refashioned porcelain made by dealers from the perspective of the nineteenth-century patron and in the context of the interiors for which it was made, it becomes clear that far from being 'inauthentic' or 'fake', dealers created an innovative Anglo-Gallic aesthetic with its own objects, language and value, which combined the heritage of eighteenth-century French collecting taste with British preference. This was known and understood by contemporaries as 'Louis XIV' style. Part I of this thesis argues that Francophile collecting practice in Britain was transformed in the first half of the nineteenth century as dealers changed elite perception to embrace the consumption of the old and the Anglo-Gallic as well as the new. To sustain that taste, dealers established London as a rival to Paris, a vital entrepot for the trade in French decorative art. The shop, a treasure house of opulence and colour, showcased the Anglo-Gallic interior in all its potential, legitimizing the old through modernity. A study of the Wanstead House sale traces the formation and dispersal, orchestrated by the dealer, of one of the foremost Anglo-Gallic interiors of the period. P31t II analyses the furniture, bronzework and porcelain and the interiors which dealers created. Rather than a failed representation of the eighteenth century, their work emerges as a deliberate synthesis of British and French taste targeted to appeal to British taste and usage. Until the 1840s, dealers had primacy of knowledge but new works of reference and the public exhibitions of the early 1850s led to greater understanding of the decorative arts among a new plutocratic collecting class. While the Great Exhibition of 1851 represented the apogee of 'Louis XIV' style, it also challenged the future of the Anglo-Gallic interior.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available