a brilliant catalogue of European arts and crafts in 1873

Whoever believes that “furniture” catalogues are an invention of Ikea, after seeing the images that follow, will have to change his idea. Already in 1873, the publisher Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus (known for their German Encyclopedia), with its offices in Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna, published the a precious book which, with the sole purpose of informing the reader, proposed a “collection of examples” of artifacts especially for home decoration, inspired by the best of what exhibitors displayed at the Expo in 1862 in London and 1867 in Paris. The Brockhaus editors did not fear to name the volume of 380 pages of large format (23 x 28 cm), Museum of Modern Art – Manufacture and propose captions in three languages (German, French and English).

On each page of the booklet there are many objects of various typologies, with an elegant graphic layout. Furniture, tapestries, lamps, gates, fireplaces, shelves, pianos, jewelry and much more, made of gold, silver, bronze, precious wood, crystal, follow one another at a fast pace to provide a sort of manual for the consumer (and the enthusiasts).

Today, the MUSEUM represents an explicit document on the customs of the dominant classes of the era and the extraordinary skill of the craftsmen and small industrialists who then operated in Europe.


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