The Ashmolean's Arts of the Eighteenth Century Gallery opens to the public on 29 April
It presents the redisplay of furniture, miniatures, ceramics, metalwork, clocks, and sculpture. Highlights include some of the best-loved works of art in the Museum, such as Giambattista Tieopolo's Young Woman with a Macaw (claimed by Philip Pullman when giving a talk at the opening of the Museum in 2009 as among the inspirations for the daemons in His Dark Materials), Alan Ramsay's portrait of Flora MacDonald, and two enchantingly contrasting portraits of young girls, Joshua Reynolds' Penelope Boothby and Thomas Gainsborough's picture of his daughter.
Among sculptures on display are another child portrait, Rysbrack's Edward Salter. Ceramics include the famous head of a laughing child from the Chelsea porcelain factory and a magnificent Meissen porcelain Osprey from Augustus the Strong's Japanese Palace in Dresden.
Other cases include exemplifications of the neo-classical Vasemania led in England by Josiah Wedgwood and Matthew Boulton; exquisitely made French gold snuff-boxes; and miniature ceramic cups and saucers mainly from the collection formed by Wing Commander Richard Dauncey and recently presented through The Art Fund.