Journal Article

The Swiss Connection

Roger Smith

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 17, issue 2, pages 123-139
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI:
The Swiss Connection

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The understandable tendency of curators and private collectors to classify their collections in national terms can understate the international context within which many types of luxury goods were manufactured and traded in the eighteenth century. This is particularly true for low-volume, high-value goods such as jewellery and watches, which could be readily transported over long distances. The extensive international trade in both finished articles and component parts, combined with the easy transmission of designs, meant that, even for interested contemporaries, the attribution of specific national origins to such objects could be problematic.

This international trade was facilitated by a surprising mobility among both merchants and craftsmen. The role that such economic migration could play in the diffusion of objects, designs and techniques across eighteenth-century Europe is illustrated by examining some of the international networks established by merchants and craftsmen from the watch- and jewellery-making centres of Geneva and other parts of western Switzerland.

Keywords: crafts history—cultural nationalism—eighteenth century—émigré European designers and craftsmen—international trade networks—Switzerland

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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