Cross-Pollination: Flowers in 18th-Century European Porcelain and Textiles

Exhibition Website

May 26 2017 - Nov 26 2017


Intoxicated by scientific discovery, the fervor for natural science, particularly botany, reached new heights in 18th-century Europe. Botanical gardens and nurseries flourished, as did expertly illustrated albums describing flora and fauna of the Old and New World in tantalizing detail. Naturalism triumphed across the decorative arts, but especially in textiles and porcelain, where the media's vibrant colors and painterly effects allowed for particularly artful and accurate botanical imagery.

The exhibition will feature a number of artworks never before exhibited at the Museum. Outstanding recent acquisitions include a rare silk damask by the English textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite and an exceptional porcelain tureen and stand from a little-known Meissen dinner service. Two mid-18th-century dresses made of exquisite floral silk will be presented alongside recent gifts of Chelsea porcelain delicately painted with sprays of lilies, roses, and violets. 

Cross-Pollination also examines potential sources for floral imagery by presenting rare illustrated books and plant specimens on loan from the Missouri Botanical Garden. The result is an interdisciplinary look at the dialogue between fashionable goods, nature, and natural science in the 18th century.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
IMAGES:   1) Made by Chelsea Porcelain Factory, England, active 1745–1784; Dish (one of a pair),c.1750s; porcelain, enamel; 1 × 9 7/8 × 7 1/16 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Gift of Melanie Redler from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Irving Redler 189:2015 .  2) Textile panel (detail), c.1745; English; brocaded silk satin; 19 3/4 × 40 1/4 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Richard Brumbaugh Trust in memory of Richard Irving Brumbaugh and Grace Lischer Brumbaugh 108:2016
  • European
  • 18th Century
  • Design
  • Anna Maria Garthwaite
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates