Author(s): Patricia Ferguson
Lifestyle | No Category
This exquisite gift book explores the phenomenon of 'garnitures', or matching sets of ceramic vases. From the 1650s such sets were used in elite European interiors as an integral part of the decorative scheme; displayed on chimney-pieces, cupboards, tables or over doors, they 'garnished' the interior and so enhanced the status of the owner. The fashion began in Europe using mismatched Chinese porcelain beakers and jars. As imports of Chinese porcelain ceased between 1657 and 1683, European potters at Nevers and Delft copied the originally exotic forms, unifying the sets with matching patterns, or with metal mounts. The fashion continued throughout the 1700s, with almost every ceramic manufactory producing examples, but came to its conclusion during the Arts and Crafts period, when the singular vase became the rage and many sets were broken up and dispersed. This book brings together some of the National Trust's most important sets of garnitures, showing them in their historic context. Many have never been published before, and will be an important souvenir of a unique exhibition.
Patricia F. Ferguson, an adviser on ceramics to the National Trust, has been researching their ceramics collection for a publication on elite ceramic patronage in Britain. She has an MA in Chinese ceramics from the School of Oriental and African Studies and works as a curatorial consultant in the Asian department of the V&A.