CONF: Rococo across Borders: Designers and Makers (Furniture History Society / French Porcelain Society; online / V&A London, 24-25 Mar 2023)

Commode designed by Jean-François Cuvilliés, the Elder, pine partially painted and gilded, German, c. 1735-40, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 28.154.

A two-day symposium organized by the Furniture History Society & the French Porcelain Society on Rococo ceramics and furniture across Europe and beyond, which aims to examine the geographical spread of the Rococo style, the interaction between designers and makers, and the significant role played by print culture in its dissemination.

It will go beyond the traditional geographical, chronological and conceptual fields of Rococo design to explore how the style evolved throughout the long Eighteenth century, and reflect on wider discussions about the historical contexts for Rococo ceramics and furniture, alongside the place of the ‘Rococo’ in museums and art historical scholarship today.


Day One – Friday, 24th March

10.00 – Registration

10.20 – Welcome and Introduction

Dame Rosalind Savill DBE, FSA, FBA President of the French Porcelain Society

10.30 – Rococo Across Borders: Opening Remarks

Session One – A French Style and its Circulation

Moderated by Helen Jacobsen

10.35 – Form versus Function – the Rococo Contradiction and its Application to French Eighteenth Century Decorative Arts

John Whitehead Independent Scholar

11.00 – Rocaille and Politics: The Diplomatic Gifts of Louis XV

Marie-Laure Buku Pongo Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection, New York

11.25 – Break

11.50 – From Cathay to Paris: Trade with Asia, its Actors and its Influence on the Arts in Paris in the Eighteenth Century

Stéphane Castelluccio Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Centre André Chastel, Paris

12.15 -The Rococo Diaspora: Wandering Craftsmen, Objects, Patronage and Diplomacy

Sarah Coffin Independent Curator, Former Senior Curator – Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York

12.40 – Discussion

12.55 Lunch including ’Object in Focus Sessions’ with V&A Collections and Curators (Separate tickets required)

Session Two – Virtuoso Rococo: England and the Netherlands

Moderated by David Oakey

14.25 – ‘A Peculiarity in the Lines’: Drawing and Carving ‘Rococo’ in mid-Eighteenth Century England

Jenny Saunt Curatorial Research Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

14.50 – Chelsea’s Extreme Rococo: A Perspicuous Misunderstanding or a Calculated Risk

Patricia Ferguson Independent Scholar

15.15 – Break (Tea/Coffee in the Painting Galleries)

15.45 – Designing or Making. On the Role of Craftsmen as Designers

Reinier Baarsen Curator Emeritus of Decorative Arts at the Rijksmuseum

16.10 –  Rococo Silver in the Austrian Netherlands: A Virtuoso Kaleidoscope?

Wim Nys Head of Collections and Research, DIVA Museum, Antwerp

16.35 – Discussion

16.50 – Closing Remarks

17.00 – End of Day One

Ticket holders are invited to a Drinks Reception, supported by Bonhams, 6.00 – 7.30 PM on Friday 24th February at Montpelier St, London SW7 1HH. Open to all attendees but ticketing is limited, pre-booking essential (see tickets)

Day Two – Saturday, 25th March

10.00 – Registration

10.20 – Welcome and Introduction

Christopher Rowell FSA Chairman of the Furniture History Society

Session Three – Inspiration and Emulation: Ireland, Germany and Russia

Moderated by Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth

10.30 – The Prints of Carl Pier (b. 1717): Visions and Potentialities in Southern German Rococo Design

Michael Yonan Professor of Art History, University of California

10.55 – Custom made for the King – Frederician Furniture in Berlin and Potsdam c. 1740-1775

Henriette Graf Curator of Furniture, Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg

11.20 – Break 11.50 -The Englishness of Irish Rococo: The Dublin School of Stucco Workers

Conor Lucey Associate Professor in Architectural History, University College Dublin

12.15 – Pineau le Russe : A French Sculptor in Service to the Tsars

Turner Edwards Independent Scholar

12.40 – Discussion

12.55 Lunch

Session Four – Across the Seas: China, the Americas and back to France

Moderated by Adriana Turpin

14.25 – Persistence, Resistance, and Canadian Rococo Furniture

Philippe Halbert Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

14.50 – Ornaments from the Western Ocean: Rococo – as a Qing Imperial Style in the Decorative Arts

Mei Mei Rado Assistant Professor, History of Textiles, Dress, and Decorative Arts, Bard Graduate Center, New York

15.15 – Break (Tea/Coffee in the Painting Galleries) 15.45 – The French Rococo Style in Colonial Latin America

Dennis Carr Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art, Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles

16.10 – Colonial Fantasy and Rococo Regressions: Porcelain in the Time of Louis-Philippe

Iris Moon Assistant Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

16.35 – Discussion

16.50 – Closing Remarks

17.00 – End of Day Two

For lunch there are various cafes/restaurants in close proximity to the V&A to avoid queues at the V&A

For more information and registration, visit: