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Huguenot Refugee Art and Culture
15 June 2021 8:00 pm
Historian and curator Tessa Murdoch will examine 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.
Dr.Tessa Murdoch FSA is Research Curator, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum. Tessa has forty years curatorial experience at the Museum of London from 1981 and at the V&A since 1990. Tessa is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a trustee of the Huguenot Museum, Rochester and of the Idlewild Trust. Her forthcoming book Huguenot Refugee Art and Culture 1530-1780 will be published by the V&A in November.
The event will be chaired by Robert Winder, author of Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain and trustee of the Migration Museum, London.
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