Richard Taws

Richard Taws teaches art history at UCL. The Politics of the Provisional: Art and Ephemera in Revolutionary France came out in 2013.

The Musée des arts et métiers in Paris is the best place I know to see a full-size lion rendered in spun glass fibre or an aeroplane in the form of a bat, to watch an automaton show or to consider the uses, and potential drawbacks, of a bowler hat fitted with a spy camera. Founded during the French Revolution as an offshoot of the Conservatoire des arts et métiers, which...

Amalia Pica​’s installation Semaphores, currently on display behind King’s Cross Station, consists of three brightly coloured signalling devices, one on the ground, next to the Regent’s Canal, the other two on the rooftops of nearby buildings. Candy-striped and chequered in contrasting colours, they seem made for play and nostalgia, a kind of mechanical bunting. The device...

Louis-Léopold​ Boilly’s long life – his career began during the Ancien Régime and lasted until the final years of the July Monarchy – makes it hard not to view his work in parallel with the huge transformations that took place in French society during that period. Born near Lille in 1761, he received no formal training, but his early paintings impressed a local...

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