Fri, 25 Dec 2015
Heights of Fashion

The new V&A gallery Europe 1600-1815 is devoted to the growing magnificence of European artistic taste through the Baroque and to the Romantic period.


Above: Cup, Copper painted in enamels
with gold mounts, Switzerland, 1700-1720

As you can imagine, there's a lot of splendour and style on display. The new gallery has been a while in the making but it shows off the beauty and craftmanship of the age (in a way, similar to the British Museum's Waddesdon Bequest). We have furniture, fashion, sculpture, ceramics and even a whole room on display. The royals and the rich spared very little expense.

Some of the things on display are so finely created and so astonishing that they need to be seen to be believed.

Above: François Boucher, Madame de Pompadour, 1758

Right: Vase with the Abduction of the Sabines, made at
Dihl and Guérhard's porcelain factory,
about 1790-95, France

In his television series Civilisation, Kenneth Clarke considered these years as a peak of high civilisation, and it is hard to disagree. If you like gold, silver, fine art and beautiful display, the V&A is for you, and this gallery in particular.

You can watch (what appears to be all of) Civilisation on YouTube.