Etherington-Smith, Meredith: Ultra Vanities. Minaudières, Nécessaires and Compacts.
Exhibition: London, Goldsmiths Hall, 2013. 152pp, illustrated throughout in colour. Cloth, 30 x 25cms.
Whether or not you manage to make it to the exhibition before its close on July 20th, the opportunity to get hold of a copy of the catalogue should not be passed over. Some 50 vanity cases from the 18th to 20th century by Cartier, Fabergé and others are lavishly illustrated and interspersed with images of the glamorous beauties to whom they once belonged. The pieces are arranged under the categories including Orientalism, Cubism, Shanghainese Deco, Romantic Historicism.
The keen viewer will notice the Chinese flavour of a large number of these jeweled boxes and will not be surprised to hear the warmth of the reception of the Chinese audience that the Hong Kong based Liangyi Museum collection of vanity cases (many of them Cartier-designed) received when exhibited at the Forbidden City in Beijing in 2011. The sumptuous and bilingual catalogue from this exhibition is also available:
Palace Museum: Contrast and Harmony, Selected Vanity Cases and Chinese Furniture of Liangyi Museum. Exhibition: Beijing, Palace Museum, 2011. 250 pp., colour plates throughout. Cloth.
An exploration of the experiences of women in East and West through 111 boxes and cases from Cartier and other European jewellery makers and 29 Chinese pieces of huanghuali and zitan furniture and objects including cabinets, tables and screens from the Liangyi Museum, Hong Kong. Text in English and Chinese.
Further evidence of Chinese influences on Western jewellery can be found in the exhibition of the highlights from the Cartier collection which intriguingly, though perhaps unintentionally, reveals much about contemporary Chinese taste for the finest kinds of Western jewellery.
Palace Museum: Cartier Treasures, King of Jewellers, Jewellers to Kings. Exhibition: Beijing, Palace Museum, 2009. 495 pp., colour plates throughout. Cloth.
Catalogue of 346 fine pieces of jewellery the Cartier collection carefully selected for a Chinese audience for this important exhibition including introductory essays in on Chinese influences in the jewellery. Text in English and Chinese.
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