Secular Objects

Valadier’s workshop created many objects for aristocratic families in Rome and elsewhere in Europe. These ranged from objects for everyday use, such as silver cutlery and dishes, to designs for items such as furnishings, clocks, and lamps in precious materials. With the changing tastes, objects in gold and silver were frequently melted down and reused. As a result, many of Valadier’s secular works are known only through existing drawings and descriptions in payments and inventories. This exhibition displays some of the most spectacular objects made by Valadier for princely families such as the Borghese, Chigi, and Rezzonico in Rome but also for foreigners like the Stuarts, Catholic pretenders to the throne of England. These objects demonstrate Valadier’s inventiveness and ability to work in different styles. From a small spoon to a large table, he produced magnificent luxury objects for an elite clientele.

Luigi Valadier (1726–1785), Coffee Pot with the Chigi Coat of Arms, 1777. Silver, h. 15 in. (38 cm). Private collection; photo Michael Bodycomb