Art: Pretty & Workmanlike

The precious little china dogs, fruit baskets and coy shepherdesses that decorate the drawing rooms of the prosperous are not so very different from the glazed nudes and fauns on 5-&-10¢ store counters.

They all derive from the same source: 18th Century Europe.*Last week Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum explored the source with an exhibition of 18th Century porcelain figures and tableware drawn from Italy, Germany, France, England, Austria and Spain.

The patronage of Louis XV in France, and a series of German counts, Italian dukes and British businessmen made porcelain manufacture a thriving industry—and something...

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