The Making of Extravagance. Porcelain from Meissen and Chantilly

From September 5, 2020 to January 3, 2021, the Domaine de Chantilly will host a major exhibition in the Château’s Grands Appartements where fine porcelain and eccentric modernity will meet. The princely porcelain of Meissen and Chantilly, which influenced the decorative arts during the Age of Enlightenment, will be given a place of honor in a spectacular exhibition design created by Peter Marino.



Porcelain, also called “white gold,” was highly coveted by the European nobility during the eighteenth century. Captivated by its technical ingenuity and unparalleled esthetics, two princes in particular, Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and Louis-Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Condé and prime minister to King Louis XV, sought to recreate this Asian invention at manufactories in Meissen (founded in 1710) and in Chantilly (1730).



The princes’ collections were a source of inspiration for many of Meissen and Chantilly’s porcelain models. Augustus II the Strong and Louis-Henri de Bourbon-Condé shared a great enthusiasm for Asian porcelain and encouraged their manufactories to imitate the Kakiemon style while adopting Western forms. Moreover, nurtured by a rising taste for exoticism, both produced tableware featuring dragons, monkey figurines, Chinese magots, and Japanese vases. In Dresden, Augustus the Strong pushed the technical boundaries even further by assembling an extremely fragile porcelain menagerie resulting in animal statues with impressive dimensions.



For the first time, an important exhibition will highlight the dialogue between the prestigious productions from Meissen and Chantilly as well as explore their influence on each other and on decorative arts during the Age of Enlightenment. It will be exceptionally staged in the Grands Appartements in the Château de Chantilly which were decorated during the same period as the pieces that will be exhibited. This presentation will be a rare occasion to see the Princes de Condé’s stunning reception rooms, including the exquisite Grande Singerie (Monkey Room), transformed with incredible objects from Chantilly’s permanent holding, the Porzellansammlung in Dresden, and other public and private collections.



The renowned architect and collector Peter Marino has been tasked with creating an astounding  scenography that will showcase these extraordinary pieces and that will invite visitors to visualize how they would have been displayed in an authentic princely setting.



This exhibition is curated by Dr. Mathieu Deldicque, Curator of the Musée Condé, Domaine de Chantilly, with the collaboration of the Porzellansammlung in Dresden. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany this presentation.


The Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly is currently raising funds for this ambitious exhibition project. To make a gift, please contact us. Tax deductions are available in the United States and France.