PAST: Once upon a time

The golden age of enamelled pocket watches (1650-1850)
Wed 17-05-2017 - Sun 17-09-2017

Round or flat, worn on the belt or in a pocket, the enamelled watches of 1650-1850 are miniature masterpieces.  Their decoration, executed by exceptional craftsmen, takes you on a journey into the very heart of the taste and fashion of the period.

From May 17th, the Once upon a time exhibition revealed a particularly engaging part of the museum’s rich collection of antique clocks: the enamelled watches (1650-1850).  The exhibition showcased the brilliance of the enamellers, mainly French and Swiss, who used this technique to transform simple watches into precious jewels.

Playful, pastoral and exotic scenes

The 175 watches on display were explored according to the theme of their decoration, often inspired by contemporary tastes and morality and by great masterpieces of art.  The exhibition was presented in 5 rooms, divided into 12 thematic sections.  Subjects included playful scenes, pastoral and garden scenes, travel and the discovery of the world, the influence of the East, and the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Paper dresses by Isabelle de Borchgrave

Twenty magnificent paper dresses by the Belgian designer Isabelle de Borchgrave – copies of period outfits – accompanied the exhibition.  The dresses were part of the collection “Paper in fashion”, in which the artist reviews 300 years of fashion history, from Queen Elizabeth the First to Coco Chanel.