Abstract

Porcelain in eighteenth-century aristocratic collections was associated with both the curious and the foreign. The Duchess of Portland’s Museum contained large amounts porcelain along with thousands of natural history specimens. The material and geographic plurality of the collection mirrored its totalizing claims to have a comprehensive display of the world’s natural and artificial materials. This essay explores the relationship between porcelain and natural history, arguing that Portland’s collection attempted to bridge conceptual distinctions between science and art in the eighteenth century, and that this project was particularly important to making sense of eighteenth-century female collecting practices and their sociable display.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 455-472
Launched on MUSE
2010-07-17
Open Access
No
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