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12th Jul / 2020
FREE Online Lecture - Simon Swynfen Jervis

Sunday, 12 July 2020, 19.00 (BST)

An Enlightenment Kaleidoscope Unveiled: Joseph Friedrich zu Racknitz’s Presentation and History of the Taste of the Leading Nations

Joseph Friedrich zu Racknitz’s Presentation and History of the Taste of the Leading Nations, published in the 1790s, was an unprecedented attempt to encapsulate the history and progress of interior decoration and architecture, not only from their origins in Ancient Egypt to their latest manifestations in modern England, but also on a universal stage, from Mexico to Tahiti. Remarkably Sir John Soane owned two of the 23 surviving copies of this extraordinarily rare and surprisingly unknown book. Soane was doubtless attracted by its 48 spectacular colour plates, representing 24 different tastes.

Racknitz's book was translated from the German and edited for publication in 2019 for the Getty Research Institute by Simon Swynfen Jervis FSA, who was Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, before serving as the National Trust’s Director of Historic Buildings. He will give an illustrated lecture on this visually exciting book and its remarkable author.

Racknitz's plate on the Mexican Taste

Contact events@furniturehistorysociety.org to register interest.

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