10 January – 28 February 2019
In the European tradition, the status of “fine art” tends to be much higher than that of the “decorative arts” though the beauty and virtuosity of the latter can be spell-binding. This is why we have a “temple” to fine art in the centre of London – the National Gallery – while “everything else” is in the Victoria and Albert Museum – which was on the fringes of London when it was built. The difference is also reflected in the huge gap between the market prices of the two arts. Why are the decorative arts undervalued in this way and what are their virtues? This series of lectures explores this intriguing subject.