Born in 1951 near Paris and educated in France, Bernard Dragesco moved to England in 1970 to study in Cambridge and then to teach French.
He returned to his home country in 1977 and started a career in antiques as a gallery assistant, quickly moving on to gallery manager.
Two years later, he started dealing on his own, soon specialising in French porcelain and European glass. The next step was the acquisition of an antiques shop at 13 rue de Beaune, 75007 Paris, in May 1982. He has been dealing from this address ever since.
An Antique Dealer & Expert
Alongside his activities as a specialised antique dealer and expert, Bernard Dragesco is engaged in art historical research in his favourite fields. His work has led to publications and lectures concerning:
The Orléans glasshouses of Bernard Perrot and his followers (17th and 18th centuries).
The life and work of the very gifted so-called ‘Crescent Painter’ at Vincennes and Sèvres, whom he identified as Louis-Denis ARMAND l’aîné.
The relationship between the French scientist Jean Hellot and the Swiss ceramic worker Jacques-Louis Brolliet which led him to the identification of the elusive English porcelain manufactory hitherto referred to as the ‘Girl-in-a-Swing’ factory, which he renamed the ‘Charles Gouyn manufactory in St. James’s, London’. This new designation has since been universally accepted.
The identification of the three Frenchmen who anonymously contacted the Duke of Richmond in circa 1750, offering to found a porcelain factory in England.
The relationship between Madame de Pompadour and the Vincennes-Sèvres factory.
The discovery of two recipes and the precise manufacturing processes of the Saint-Cloud porcelain factory.
Pulications & Lectures
Bernard Perrot et les verreries royales du duché d’Orléans, Orléans, 1989 (co-authored with Dr. Jacques Bénard).
English Ceramics in French Archives, London, 1993.
‘Les décors d’oiseaux à la manufacture de Vincennes-Sèvres au XVIIIe siècle’ in Des Porcelaines et des Oiseaux, Tournai, 1994.
‘Une lettre inédite de Madame de Pompadour…’, in Mélanges en souvenir d’Elisalex d’Albis, (Sèvres), 1999.
‘Armand l’aîné, peintre de nature’ in Sèvres sous Louis XV by John Whitehead, Paris, 2010.
‘Les secrets de la porcelaine tendre de Saint-Cloud’ and ‘Facéties de sculpture à Saint-Cloud’ in Tendre porcelaine de Saint-Cloud, exhibition catalogue, Musée des Avelines, Saint-Cloud, 2016.
Since 1990, Bernard Dragesco has given numerous lectures on French porcelain and European glass in France, Britain, the United States, Switzerland and Belgium. He is an internationally acknowledged expert in his fields, and a member of the Chambre Nationale des Experts Spécialisés since 1996. He regularly assists several French auctioneers and has been on the vetting committees of the Biennale Internationale des Antiquaires (Paris), the Salon du Collectionneur (Paris), the Parcours de la Céramique et des Arts du Feu (Paris) and TEFAF (Maastricht).
Bernard Dragesco is a past Vice-President of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires and is on the board of the Société des Amis du Musée National de Céramiques (Sèvres). He is also active in the preservation of the French architectural heritage. He is a keen gardener and a private pilot. In 2007, Bernard Dragesco was awarded the medal of Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Culture Minister.