Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 52, The George Levy Gallery

A New Book of Chinese Ornaments Invented & Engraved by J. Pillement 1755

Print
1755 (Published)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This print is an etching. An etching is produced by biting lines in a metal plate with acid to hold ink. The lines on the plate are filled with ink which is then printed onto paper.

Design & Designing
The Far East had long held a fascination for Westerners since traders, and later the various East India companies, had introduced exotic oriental goods to Europe. This print is a page from "A new book of Chinese designs, the first pattern book of Chinoiserie" [Chinese-inspired] designs published in 1755 by the French painter and designer Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808). This early print demonstrates how Pillement adapted traditional French Rococo ornament into his own idea of Chinese patterns suited to English taste. The design includes typically French Rococo shapes and recalls grotesques (a system of decoration based on Roman wall paintings) by the French master Jean Bérain (1639-1711). The delicate structure and wispy foliage on which a man in Chinese costume is resting are all characteristic of Pillement's work and suggest a fantastic, airy world which the artist delighted in portraying.

Time
The elegant Chinese style adopted by Pillement had already been introduced to France by artists such as Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) and Francois Boucher (1703-1770). In England Pillement's work was very influential and widely used. His patterns have been identified on lacquered and marquetry furniture silver enamels textiles porcelain and earthenware.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Etching, ink on paper
Brief Description
Jean Pillement, 1 of 6 plates, the complete suite, including title plate, of 'A New Book of Chinese Ornaments Invented & Engraved by J. Pillement 1755'. Published in London, 1755.
Physical Description
Print
Dimensions
  • Paper height: 39.5cm
  • Width: 23cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Signed 'J. Pillement inv. & Sculp.'
Gallery Label
British Galleries: The French artist Jean Pillement worked in London during the 1750s. In his prints he introduced a novel and influential Chinoiserie decoration in the Rococo style. This featured Chinese figures clambering over light, openwork structures composed of Rococo scrolls and shells, flimsy vegetation, and fantastic feathery flowers.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Designed and etched in London by Jean Baptiste Pillement (born in Lyon, France, 1728, died there in 1808)
Summary
Object Type
This print is an etching. An etching is produced by biting lines in a metal plate with acid to hold ink. The lines on the plate are filled with ink which is then printed onto paper.

Design & Designing
The Far East had long held a fascination for Westerners since traders, and later the various East India companies, had introduced exotic oriental goods to Europe. This print is a page from "A new book of Chinese designs, the first pattern book of Chinoiserie" [Chinese-inspired] designs published in 1755 by the French painter and designer Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808). This early print demonstrates how Pillement adapted traditional French Rococo ornament into his own idea of Chinese patterns suited to English taste. The design includes typically French Rococo shapes and recalls grotesques (a system of decoration based on Roman wall paintings) by the French master Jean Bérain (1639-1711). The delicate structure and wispy foliage on which a man in Chinese costume is resting are all characteristic of Pillement's work and suggest a fantastic, airy world which the artist delighted in portraying.

Time
The elegant Chinese style adopted by Pillement had already been introduced to France by artists such as Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) and Francois Boucher (1703-1770). In England Pillement's work was very influential and widely used. His patterns have been identified on lacquered and marquetry furniture silver enamels textiles porcelain and earthenware.
Bibliographic Reference
(Berlin I) Berlin Staatliche Museen, Katalog der Ornamentstich-Sammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin, Berlin and Leipzig, 1936-39, 449, Band 5 (5).
Collection
Accession Number
28639D

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record createdJune 19, 2003
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