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Rococo echo

art, history and historiography from Cochin to Coppola

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment
Vol. No.
Vol. No.: 


Volume editor(s)
Volume editor(s): 
Melissa Lee Hyde, Katie Scott
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Publication Date: 
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About the Book

About the Book: 

Intermittently in and out of fashion, the persistence of the Rococo from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first is clear. From painting, print and photography, to furniture, fashion and film, the Rococo’s diverse manifestations appear to defy temporal and geographic definition.

In Rococo echo, a team of international contributors adopts a wide lens to explore the relationship of the Rococo with time. Through chapters organised around broad temporal moments – the French Revolution, the First World War and the turn of the twenty-first century – contributors show that the Rococo has been viewed variously as modern, late, ruined, revived, preserved and anticipated. Taking into account the temporality of the Rococo as form, some contributors consider its function as both a visual language and a cultural marker engaged in different ways with the politics of nationalism, gender and race. The Rococo is examined, too, as a mode of expression that encompassed and assimilated styles, and which functioned as a surprisingly effective means of resisting both authority – whether political, religious or artistic – and cultural norms of gender and class. Contributors also show how the Rococo, from its birth in France, reverberated through England, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the South American colonies to become a pan-European, even global movement.

The Rococo emerges from these contributions as a discourse defined but not confined by its original historical moment, and whose adaptability to the styles and preoccupations of later periods gives it a value and significance that take it beyond the vagaries of fashion.

Foreword. Rococo echo: style and temporality, Katie Scott

I. Rococo revivals: the nineteenth century

1. The uncomfortable Frenchness of the German Rococo, Michael Yonan

2. Rococo republicanism, elizabeth mansfield

3. Scavenging Rococo: trouvailles, bibelots and counter-revolution, Tom Stammers

4. Vive l’amateur! The Goncourt house revisited, Andrew McClellan

5. Pierrot’s periodicity: Watteau, Nadar and the circulation of the Rococo, Marika T. Knowles

6. Remembrance of things past: Robert de Montesquiou, Emile Gallé and Rococo revival during the fin de siècle, Meredith Martin

7. Irregular rococo Impressionism, Anne Higonnet

II. Rococo: the eighteenth century

8. Was there such a thing as rococo painting in eighteenth-century France?, Colin B. Bailey

9. ‘A wild kind of imagination’: eclecticism and excess in the English rococo designs of Thomas Johnson, Brigid von Preussen

10. Out of time: Fragonard, with David, Satish Padiyar

11. Rococo and spirituality from Paris to Rio de Janeiro, Gauvin Alexander Bailey

III. New Rococo: the twentieth century and beyond

12. Sedlmayr’s Rococo, Kevin Chua

13. Warhol’s Rococo: style and subversion in the 1950s, Allison Unruh

14. The new Rococo: Sofia Coppola and fashions in contemporary femininity, Rebecca Arnold

15. Post-colonial Rococo: Yinka Shonibare MBE plays Fragonard, Sarah Wilson

16. The Rococo revival and the old art history, Carol Duncan

Afterword. The Rococo dream of happiness as ‘a delicate kind of revolt’, Melissa Lee Hyde

List of illustrations


Select bibliography




Ceræ: an Australian journal of medieval and early modern studies

‘an impressive and authoritative volume addressing the complex and various ways in which the eighteenth-century style persists as an alluring echo long after it was deemed redundant.’

French Studies

‘Uprootedness, global dislocations, and eccentric visions of time are at the centre of this edited collection, which seeks to reframe the rococo as a discursive style perennially reactivated and reformulated from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries […] Ranging in scope beyond painting and interior decoration, the subjects discussed are refreshingly diverse’.

Dix-huitième siècle

‘Le lecteur est invité à s’interroger tout d’abord au niveau méthodologique, sur les limites et les potentialités propres à certaines catégories historiographiques, puis au niveau philosophique, à remettre en question la notion d’art elle même, notamment dans ses liens avec la politique et la société’.