“A fragrance of sweet cake and warm. ” When she was in high school, this Nantaise still remembers the good smell that embaumait some days in the city, until the early 1980s. If the mark READING is intimately linked to Nantes from the middle of the XIXe century, his reputation has since toured the world. Who has not chewed with gusto in a small schoolboy, devoured the ears of the small-butter ?
This saga gourmet opens in 1846 when Jean-Romain Lefèvre moved to Nantes. In 1850, with his wife, Pauline-Isabelle Useful, they founded “the fame” and sell dry cakes just out of the oven. In 1882, their son, Louis Lefèvre-Useful, takes the biscuit and sees great. Three years later, the company invests a former spinning mill on the edge of the canal Saint-Félix, on which shall soon both towers flaming. In 1913, 1 200 workers produce 20 tons of biscuits every day.
The castle of Nantes tells the story of this industrial success through “what has always characterized the brand READ : innovation “, underlines Bertrand Guillet, director. It is first of all translated by the research “new forms of biscuits “. In 1886, the small-butter and its twenty-four punches, in 1906, straw, gold, wafer, stylish, topped with raspberry jam. Original sketches, books of recipes of engineers and molds to reveal the trials.
The avant-garde spirit of LU was also observed in these machines, designed to produce fast and good like that “to retrieve the egg yolks “, immortalized under the brush of the painter Albert Brenet, whose series shows the organization of the workshops of the manufacture.
“A new graphic language “
Bags of paper in the boxes to the more sophisticated, these jewel cases very thought out appeal to gourmands. “For Louis Lefèvre-Useful, it needs to be seen to please and to be purchased “, supports Bertrand Guillet. “With him, is born a new graphical language “, explains Olivier Fruneau-Maigret, collector. The brand stands out thanks to the artists who are shaping his image. In 1897, Firmin Bouisset imagine the figure of the small schoolboy from the portrait of Louis junior, son of the director.Alfons Mucha packs the biscuits of new art. Their paintings and original drawings are presented in this exhibition is colourful and playful.
“Always go farther “ remains the leitmotiv of the company that built for the universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris, a pavilion, giant with a lighthouse READ that makes sense in the face of the Eiffel tower. The consecration. However, it will take half a century for the final logo to READ white letters on a red background was created in 1957 by designer Raymond Loewy.
“I find nothing better than a little READING : oh if ! two small LU “, said the actriceSarah Bernhardt, its most famous ambassador. A slogan still valid at the time of the tasting !
READ, a century of innovation, 1846-1957the castle of the dukes of Brittany in Nantes, from June 27 to January 3, 2021.