The National Trust's ceramic collection is vast, numbering approximately 75,000 artefacts, housed in 250 historic properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. What is distinct about the collection are the individual stories behind these objects that go beyond mere place and date of production, revealing the very personal histories of ownership, display, taste and consumption. Collectively, patterns emerge from these narratives documenting the acquisition, patronage and collecting of ceramics among the British aristocracy and gentry over four centuries.
Rather than presenting the objects in isolation, where possible and appropriate the ceramics are illustrated in their original interiors.
Following an introduction, the individual entries focus on production, exchange and appreciation, placing the objects in the socio-economic environment in which they were created for a broader understanding of their relevance today. One hundred 'stories' have been selected from this rich treasure trove of ceramics from Asia, Europe, Britain and the Americas.
Rather than being presented in the usual chronological order by production date or divided by material, geography or use, this ground-breaking publication presents the material in the order these objects begin to appear in elite British households, based on documentary evidence in the form of original invoices, inventories, auction catalogues, dealer archives, paintings, and photographs.
No other collection in the world has such a breadth and depth of provenance to present this critical timeline.
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