The Swiss Connection
Author: Smith, Roger
Source: Journal of Design History, Volume 17, Number 2, June 2004 , pp. 123-139(17)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:The understandable tendency of curators and private collectors to classify their collections in national terms can understate the international context within which many types of luxury goods were manufactured and traded in the eighteenth century. This is particularly true for low-volume, high-value goods such as jewellery and watches, which could be readily transported over long distances. The extensive international trade in both finished articles and component parts, combined with the easy transmission of designs, meant that, even for interested contemporaries, the attribution of specific national origins to such objects could be problematic.
This international trade was facilitated by a surprising mobility among both merchants and craftsmen. The role that such economic migration could play in the diffusion of objects, designs and techniques across eighteenth-century Europe is illustrated by examining some of the international networks established by merchants and craftsmen from the watch- and jewellery-making centres of Geneva and other parts of western Switzerland.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2004-06-01
- Journal of Design History is a leading journal in its field. It plays an active role in the development of design history (including the history of the crafts and applied arts), as well as contributing to the broader field of studies of visual and material culture. The journal includes a regular book reviews section and lists books received, and from time to time publishes special issues.