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Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth

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£0 – £5

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Collaborative Craftsmanship and Ceramic Sculpture

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Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth (Curator, 17th and 18th Century Ceramics and Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum)

In late 2019, the V&A Museum acquired one of the finest examples of English porcelain sculpture, in the form of a small bust of a Laughing or Smiling Child, c.1746-49. Firmly attributed to the Chelsea Porcelain Factory, the identity of the designers and craftsmen involved in its production have been the subject of much debate. Over the years it has been repeatedly attributed to the sculptor Jean Louis-François Roubiliac, most likely cast in plaster from a model designed by him. Only one other example now exists, now at the Ashmolean Museum. Roubiliac, was a great friend of the silver designer and proprietor of Chelsea, Nicholas Sprimont. As Malcolm Baker has shown, there is also evidence that Roubiliac contemplated using Chelsea porcelain for a larger commission during the earliest experimental stage of the factory. This talk will discuss the collaborative creative processes behind the manufacture of this extraordinary ceramic bust, which is undoubtedly a testament to the closely-knit artistic networks operating across London during the mid-eighteenth century.

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Organizer Leeds Art Fund

Organizer of Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth

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