Rare French porcelain which has survived the tumult of revolution, is on show at Harewood House in celebration of the Grand Depart.
The display is made up of more than 100 pieces of delicate Sèvres porcelain, some previously owned by the ill-fated King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.
The exhibition - In Pursuit of the Exquisite: Royal Sèvres from Versailles to Harewood - is being staged as part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, during the run up to the Tour de France.
The French Royal family obsessively collected Sèvres and their patronage was key to the factory’s success. But the French Revolution changed everything and, after the storming of the Bastille in 1789, many works of art from the royal palaces were confiscated and sold. In England, Sevres was much prized by the Prince Regent (later George IV) and his contemporaries who favoured French style and culture. Edward Viscount Lascelles, eldest son of the 1st Earl of Harewood, known as “Beau”, was among London’s most avid collectors and it is his collection of Sèvres that is being honoured in the run up to the Tour which comes to Yorkshire in July.
The exhibition was opened last week by BAFTA-winning actress Kristin Scott Thomas along with Lord Harewood David Lascelles and curator Dame Rosalind Savill.
Lord Harewood said: “Sevres has a strong French connection with Harewood and the story behind it is fantastic.”
Dame Rosalind said the exhibits had all had an extraordinary history. Alongside the Sèvres exhibition, works from three contemporary artists are making connections between the past and present. In the Terrace Gallery, Dan Scott explores the poignant life of Queen Marie Antoinette through video and sound, to create works examining the idea of objects as silent witnesses to history.
Below Stairs in the China Cupboards, Michelle Taylor and Livia Marin transform everyday china into unique artworks.