<em>Sewing box</em> (19th century) <!-- (full view) --><br />

wood, ivory, metal, velvet<br />
33.5 x 34.0 x 28.5 cm (overall)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Felton Bequest, 1931<br />
3256-D3<br />


Observations: Moments in Design History Seminar One: Design in the Early Modern Period

Sat 26 Aug 23, 10am–4pm

FRENCH INDIAN / ANGLO-INDIAN<br/> <em>Sewing box</em> (19th century) <!-- (full view) --><br /> wood, ivory, metal, velvet<br /> 33.5 x 34.0 x 28.5 cm (overall)<br /> National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br /> Felton Bequest, 1931<br /> 3256-D3<br /> <!--54065-->
Past program

This program takes place virtually

Registrations have now closed for Seminar One. You can register for Seminar Two: Traditional Crafts and the Rise of Modernism on Saturday 23 September here.

What were the materials and technologies that shaped global design in times of change, and who were the key manufacturers of the early modern period?

This seminar will look at decorative arts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries focussing on materials and technical innovation. The rise of trade between Asia and Europe in the seventeenth century led to an influx of luxury goods into Europe and prompted profound developments in the design, decoration and manufacture of objects.

Presentations will look at trade and exchange between Asia and Europe; the Sèvres Porcelain Factory and biscuit porcelain sculpture; secrecy in the eighteenth century as examined through furniture design with its use of locks and secret drawers and will introduce participants to the role of design histories in Korea.

This is the first seminar in the three part series: Observations: Moments in Design History.

With a focus on the NGV’s leading collection of historical decorative arts and design, across three seminars historians, writers and curators from around the world examine the movements, materials and manufacturers that shaped global design across centuries.

The entire collection of presentations, conversations and lectures will be transcribed into a printed publication, giving audiences the opportunity to revisit the content from Observations: Moments in Design History. Participants can pre-purchase a copy of the book, set to be released in May 2024, when booking into the seminars.

NGV Members, students and educators enjoy discounted tickets to all Observations seminars.

Program schedule released closer to the event. Participants will have access to content for 4 weeks following the seminar.


Wedgwood : Ceramic Innovation and 18th Century Civility
Lis Bogdan has taught in the visual arts and on art world practices at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for thirty years, first at Cardiff Institute of Art and Design and Southampton Solent University, and for the past twenty years, at Sotheby’s Institute of Art London, where she is faculty on the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design. Her specialist areas extend from the eighteenth century to modern and contemporary European and American design, decorative art and architectural history. She contributes to courses at the V&A and speaks to collectors’ groups. Lis has published for the Journal of Design History, Phaidon Press and for the Decorative Art Society.

Trade and Exchange
Sarah Piram is a specialist of Islamic art and was formerly IHF Curator for the Iranian collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, UK. She joined the V&A in 2018 and contributed to the international exhibtion Epic Iran (2021). She is now finishing a collaborative doctoral degree at Paris Nanterre University and the Lourve Museum on the history of Iranian heritage in the twentieth century.

Dr Meha Priyadarshini is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Edinburgh. Her research lies at the intersection of global history and material culture studies, with a particular focus on connections between colonial Latin America and Asia. Meha’s first book Chinese Porcelain in Colonial Mexico: The Material Worlds of an Early Modern Trade takes a local approach to a popular export product to explore the broader history of transpacific trade during the early modern period. More recently she has co-edited the book Transpacific Engagements: Trade, Translation and Visual Culture of Entangled Empires (1565 – 1898).

Dr Maria Quirk, Curator, Collections and Research, NGV

The Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory and Biscuit Porcelain Sculpture
John Whitehead FSA is a dealer, writer and lecturer specialising in French eighteenth-century interior decoration and works of art, with an emphasis on Sèvres porcelain. He is best known for his 1992 book, The French Interior in the Eighteenth Century. His two books on Sèvres porcelain of the eighteenth century, commissioned by the Sèvres factory and museum, were published in 2011. In addition he has written numerous articles for specialist periodicals on various aspects of French eighteenth-century art. John Whitehead has served as a member of the Council of the Furniture History Society and is currently a member of the committee of the French Porcelain Society, with responsibility as co-editor of the Society’s Journal. In 2010 he was made an officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Secrecy in the 18th Century
Dr Carolyn Sargentson, author of Merchants and Luxury Markets: The Marchands Merciers of Eighteenth-Century Paris. Dr Sargentson has made a forensic study of 17th and 18th century French furniture. She is especially curious about how its form, construction and operation can help us understand how people, both real and fictional, lived and worked at home, how they navigated the sharing of domestic spaces with others, and how they protected secrets of the heart, money and politics. Her physical explorations of the objects, conducted in collaboration with her brilliant colleagues in museum conservation, have produced deep knowledge about their interior organisation, operation and meaning. Dr Sargentson now works as a coach with museum directors, boards, and leadership teams.

Korean Design
Misun Rheem is a curator who specialises contemporary Korean Crafts and Ceramics and is a lecturer at Busan National University. Currently she is the artistic director of Trilateral (Korea-China-Japan) Arts Festival 2023 and in 2021 she was the artistic director of the Cheongju Craft Biennale. Misun has worked for the Korea Craft & Design Foundation as a director of the craft division, the Clayarch Gimhae Museum as a director and the Korea Ceramic Foundation as a curator. She also serves the Korean Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as an advisory member.

Observations: Moments in Design History is generously supported by an Anonymous donor

Talks and discussions Design International Modernism NGV Collection Virtual