Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces
1600 - 1800 from the Victoria and Albert museum

24 September 2011 - 9 January 2012



François Boucher
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1721– 64)
France, 1758
Oil on Canvas
V&A: 487-1882
©Victoria and Albert Museum / V&A Images

Christopher Lencker
House shrine with Pietà
Augsburg, 1600–13
Ebony veneer on oak, with silver-gilt and
applied silver figures and decoration
V&A: M.1-1953
©Victoria and Albert Museum / V&A

About this Exhibition

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, has one of the greatest collections of European decorative art of the 17th and 18th centuries, from the miniature to the monumental. Over ninety masterpieces from these magnificent collections have been selected for this exhibition, including painting and sculpture, ceramics and glass, metalwork and furniture, textiles and dress, prints and drawings.

They were acquired and used by European men and women of power, wealth and taste. Many were made by Europe’s finest artists and craftsmen, using precious materials from around the world. They come from all corners of the continent – from Britain and France, Italy and Germany, Russia and Spain, Austria and Belgium, Holland and Sweden.

The exhibition presents a series of themes encapsulating important aspects of courtly life in Europe. It begins with an opening section looking at power and patronage in Europe between 1600 and 1800, presenting key figures from European courts who were great patrons of the arts. The following sections focus on four different aspects of courtly life: the importance of war; the role of religion; the peaceful arts of the domestic interior and the magnificence of personal adornment.

Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum is accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition publication, available soon from the Art Gallery Shop.

About the Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 2000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.

Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Funding Partner


Principal Series Sponsor





Last reviewed 10 January 2012

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