Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > An invitation to the exotic: ephemeral art in Joseph Gilliers's Le cannaméliste français

This thesis investigates the braid of exotic elements presented in Joseph Gilliers’s Le Cannaméliste français, a confectionery dictionary published in Nancy, France in 1751. Using eighteenth-century definitions of the exotic as unknown or non-native, I analyze the thirteen illustrated plates within the context of decorative and ephemeral arts. These illustrations represent three different types of the exotic: the island exotic, the taxonomic exotic, and the rocaille exotic. The artist blurs these types of the exotic to heighten the curiosity of the eighteenth-century viewer. I analyze these confectionery plates and their relationship to the discursive formations of islands and empire, as well as to the classification of knowledge and the rocaille aesthetic. While the confectionery dictionary may appear as a mere how-to manual of sugar creations, the illustrations represent the complex designs and environments common to dining tables at the eighteenth-century courts of Europe.