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An Economy of Delight: Court Artisans of the Eighteenth Century

Michael Stürmer
The Business History Review
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Winter, 1979), pp. 496-528
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3114736
Page Count: 33
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
An Economy of Delight: Court Artisans of the Eighteenth Century
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Abstract

Where virtuoso talents were required by the courts, great and small, of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe, the protectionist system of guilds was suspended, according to Dr. Stürmer. In a society where status had to be attested to by conspicuous consumption, of which the sovereign himself was the most avid practitioner, the finest artisans in the fields of interior decoration and furnishings often attained the status of "court artisans," in which they enjoyed many of the freedoms of laissez-faire that members of the guilds denied themselves as well as their competitors. In the end, however, the Revolution that swept away the guild economy also destroyed this expedient whereby excellence and entrepreneurship had been fostered.

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