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Europe Divided: Huguenot Refugee Art and Culture

23 February 2022 6:00 pm

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This richly illustrated new book by Tessa Murdoch focuses on the extraordinary international networks resulting from the diaspora of more than 200,000 refugees who left France in the late 17th century to join communities already in exile spread far and wide.

First-generation Huguenot refugees included hundreds of trained artists, designers, and craftsmen. Beyond the French borders, they raised the quality of design and workshop practice, passing on skills to their apprentices; sons, godsons, cousins, and to successive generations, who continued to dominate output in the luxury trades.

Although silver and silks are the best-known fields with which Huguenot settlers are associated, their significant contribution to architecture, ceramics, design, clock and watchmaking, engraving, furniture, woodwork, sculpture, portraiture, and art education provides fascinating insight into the motivation and resolve of this highly skilled diaspora. Thanks to a sophisticated network of Huguenot merchants, retailers, and bankers who financed their production, their wares reached a global market.

Tessa Murdoch is an independent art historian, consultant and curator. Until last year she was Research Curator of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, having previously worked there for many years in the Furniture, Sculpture, Metalwork and Ceramics Collections, and before that at the Museum of London. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and of the Idlewild Trust, and advisor to the National Trust and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. In 2019 she was a Getty Rothschild Fellow, and she is currently serving as Chair of the Board of the Huguenot Museum, Rochester which will reopen in late May 2022.

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Image: Book cover – Europe Divided: Huguenot Refugee Art and Culture by Tessa Murdoch