Madame de Pompadour

Collaboration with Factum Foundation

The exhibition at Waddesdon Manor of Madame de Pompadour : In the Frame was built around a facsimile by Factum Foundation of François Boucher’s famous 1756 portrait of the all-powerful, Enlightenment maitresse-en-titre of Louis XV, recorded at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The initial idea was to replicate Boucher’s portrait, reunite it with the frame it once occupied and to display them together. But the idea grew… A smaller Boucher oil sketch of Madame de Pompadour in an elaborate 18th-century gilded frame remains in the Rothschild collection at Waddesdon. By Factum also recording and replicating this sketch, there was the rare possibility to display an original and a facsimile next to one another, challenging visitors to determine which was which.

A series of engraved Rococo panels by Boucher were printed onto silk and surrounded by bevelled mirrors. With an allusion to Versailles, this Hall of Mirrors created its own infinity, reinforced by the secondary illusion of the rococo world seen through the frames of Boucher’s architectural conceits. A Lucida 3D Laser Scanner was set up in the main room to record various paintings in the Rothschild collection over the course of the exhibition.

In a separate part of the display, cases containing an extraordinary collection of objects from the Factum studio – a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ – showed the fusion of technology and craftsmanship involved in Factum’s work. Everything aimed to reveal the process of recording and making, ‘input and output’, technology and material evidence.