What are you going to talk about at the colloquium this year?
I am discussing a large imposing marble centrepiece mounted in a bronze base designed by a French sculptor. It was acquired by the ROM in 2009 and is currently on display in the European Galleries. My talk entitled "A Centrepiece by Froment Meurice: Luxury Objects at the World's Fairs" will examine this ultimate French luxury object from the 1860s in the context of Worlds Fairs as international events and in the terms of Victorian design and history.
What part of your research do you enjoy the most?
I am really excited when I discover an important example of design or technology in the decorative arts and then able to confirm its importance through research. This takes years of experience, reading and contacts and the ability to remember things that you have seen or facts that you have read. The attached image from 2007 shows me in the salon of Empress Eugenie preserved as part of her apartments at the Louvre in Paris. She was the wife of Emperor Napoleon III and played an important role in supporting the arts and luxury trades that resulted in the production of the ROM's centrepiece.