Praise for Exotic Taste:
“Artful interiors.” —Home Design with Kevin Sharkey
“Emmanuelle Gaillard and Marc Walter take readers on an artistically historical journey.”—Newsday
“Dripping with exotic colors and tiles, this sumptuous tome is a history lesson and design book packed into one.”—The Detroit News
“Anyone interested in design, collecting, architecture, or Asian history will be enthralled with this coffee-table book, which illuminates a fascinating corner of art history.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The lengths that collectors will go to, the money and legwork they will sink into exotic antiques completely unrelated to their daily lives, can make for transporting reading. [One of] the year’s five best books in the genre, Exotic Taste makes particularly good holiday reading because of Ms. Gaillard’s descriptions of jolly multicultural parties and intense shopping sprees.” —The New York Times
“Beginning in the 18th century, European tastemakers, chafing under the constraints of classicism, turned to the exotic East, swooning over the intricate patterns and scenes and lush, sensual colors found in the arts of China, Japan, India, and the Arabic world. Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors examines the craze for all things Eastern that resulted in such anomalies as English country houses with onion domes and the tiled fantasia, complete with trickling fountain and pool, that the Victorian painter Lord Leighton build in his London home.”—Elle Décor
“Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors [is] a sumptuous look at how decorative styles from the Far East, India and the Islamic world found their way to the West.”—Houston Chronicle
About Exotic Taste
As trade with the exotic East grew in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through the activities of English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch merchants, Chinese-inspired design—Chinoiserie—became highly fashionable in the French court, and in its many imitators throughout Europe. Since then, stylistic influences from the Far East, India, and the Islamic world have been a significant factor in the decorative arts and interior design of Europe and America.
Exotic Taste explains the link between foreign adventures, such as Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt or the British conquest of the Indian princely states, and the subsequent fashion for Egyptian Revival, Indian, Chinese, Near Eastern, or Japanese-influenced interiors. European and American writers, artists, and thinkers were drawn to the “mysterious East” and commissioned the leading architects and designers of the day to create rooms, even entire houses, modeled upon Oriental examples. The costly extravagance of the Prince Regent’s Chinese-inspired Royal Pavilion caused a constitutional crisis, while the Empress Catherine blithely spent a fortune on the construction of a Chinese village at Tsarskoe Selo, her Imperial palace outside St. Petersburg. In the nineteenth century the houses of Lord Leighton, the British Orientalist painter, and Mark Twain, were famed for their “Syrian” rooms, and Pierre Loti, the French novelist and adventurer, posed in Arab robes in his Moroccan-themed villa. Fantastic, elaborate, and often kitschy, it is no wonder that the taste for the exotic appealed equally to the mad King Ludwig and Anglo-American tycoons.
Exotic Taste celebrates the flowering of Orientalism, and, in more than 200 images, shows its development through the nineteenth and into the twentieth century. Packed with color, the book creates a visual source for anyone involved with interiors, collecting, architecture and design.
About the Contributor(s)
Emmanuelle Gaillard is an art historian, editor, and author of specialist books and exhibition catalogues.
Marc Walter, a noted graphic designer and photographer, is the author or editor of numerous books including Vendome’s Empire Splendor and Dream Palaces.
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