Seminar Programme

The Institute of Historical Research at the School of Advanced Studies of the University of London hosts our seminar on Collecting & Display. The monthly seminars take place at the Institute, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU. Seminars begin at 6.00 and last approximately one hour. 

PLEASE SEE THE CONFERENCES PAGE FOR RECENT UPDATES AND CALL FOR PAPERS


PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN RECEIVING EMAILS FROM US YOU SHOULD CHECK THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US YOUR UP TO DATE ADDRESS AND MAKE SURE THAT THE EMAILS ARE NOT GOING STRAIGHT TO SPAM.   IF YOU ARE HAVING DIFFICULTIES, PLEASE CONTACT collecting_display@hotmail.com

The Society for the History of Collecting has recently been formed to encourage communication among scholars in the field through its website https://societyhistorycollecting.wordpress.com and events.  The international forum Collecting and Display  will continue its activities, holding monthly seminars, organising conferences and publishing.  The two organisations are intended to be complementary.  To contact the Society please see its website or email  sochistcoll@gmail.com.

LONDON

2018                    PLEASE NOTE THAT EXCEPTIONALLY DURING THIS TERM OUR SEMINARS WILL BE ON TUESDAYS

NEXT SEMINAR:  6 p.m. TUESDAY, 2nd October

Natasha Shoory will speak to us on A New Collector of the Ancien Régime: Madame de Saint-Sauveur

As the Enlightenment questioned crucial issues such as the established political, religious, and social foundations of society, debates and transformations regarding art, luxury and taste emerged alongside key shifts in the history of patronage and collecting. The development of the secondary market and the modern auction, the decline of royal patronage following the death of Louis XIV, the emergence of financiers as collectors, and the growth in the number of collectors and collections, brought changes to who was collecting, what they acquired, and how they acquired objects. The quantity of collections during the latter half of the eighteenth century, combined with the relatively few scholarly explorations of those collections (particularly in the case of female collectors), provide the historian of collecting with a wealth of undiscovered and untouched information. 

In Paris on 12th February 1776 an anonymous sale of a collection of paintings primarily of the French and Northern schools, as well as drawings, engravings and bronzes amongst other objects, took place conducted by Pierre Rémy. Some of these works were then acquired by major collectors, such as Randon de Boisset, and have appeared regularly on the art market and in public museum collections up to the present day. The unannotated catalogue omitted an introduction and listed the identity of the collector only as ‘Madame’. However, two separate versions of the catalogue were inscribed with the name ‘Madame de Saint-Sauveur’, an unlikely mistake to be made twice. Following comprehensive research at the Archives Nationales de Paris, this paper will reveal the identity of Madame de Saint-Sauveur as a noblewoman who held a prominent position at Versailles as a sous-gouvernante and amassed a substantial fortune as the sole heiress of her father’s estate, before relocating to Paris in the heart of elite society, and forming a friendship with Madame du Deffand. 

Female collectors such as Madame de Pompadour, the Comtesse de Verrue, and Madame du Barry are now well documented and well-known for their impressive, exceptional collections.  In the pursuit of determining the experiences and practices of collectors, and particularly ‘overlooked’ female collectors, this research emphasises the need to determine what was ‘typical’ in order to fully understand the ‘exceptional’. 

BIOGRAPHY:

Natasha Shoory completed her BA in Art History and Theory at the University of Sydney in 2012, and her MA in The History and Business of Art and Collecting through the University of Warwick and IESA in 2016. She has spent the past two years working at Christie’s in London, handling copyright, picture research, and writing for Christie’s publications. She will be commencing an MSt in Modern Languages, focusing on the History of the Enlightenment, at the University of Oxford in October 2018, where she is the recipient of Worcester College’s Drue Heinz Graduate Scholarship. Her research interests focus on eighteenth-century France, particularly the role of women in the art and collecting of the Ancien Régime. She is currently researching the acquisition of eighteenth-century French artworks and furniture during the early twentieth century in America, for which she received a research travel grant from the Furniture History Society in 2017. 


TUESDAY, 13th November 6 p.m.

Cecilia Riva will speak to us on Austen Henry Layard, the achievement of “a collector of various things”

This talk challenges the historical assessment of the Layard Collection as simply a bequest of paintings to the National Gallery. The paper will shed light on the multifarious interests of Austen Henry Layard (Paris, 1817 – London, 1894) in forming a collection consisting of more than 800 items. These ranged from notable Italian Renaissance paintings to beautiful examples of Armenian manuscripts; from Spanish religious metalwork to Burgundian tapestry. As a result, the Layard collection was deemed to be one of the most important in Venice in the late XIX century. The history of its formation, display, and subsequent dispersal has many interesting aspects that still have not been precisely traced.

Taken in its entirety, the collection reveals an exquisite cameo of its creator, and shows the way in which Layard sought to attain personal status and prestige through the development of his collection. Though not all his purchases were of high quality, they furnish a remarkable example of the way in which such a collection could be perceived and the role it played in the last decades of the XIX century, both in England and Italy. To this end, the paper will present new and evocative insights into the interiors of Ca’ Capello Layard where the collection was lodged and displayed, through analysing and integrating both new and previously overlooked documentary sources.

The collection should be assessed not only as a dialectical interaction between spaces, objects and artworks, but should primarily be viewed as a narrative formed by its creator. From this perspective, the Layard collection furnishes an interesting case study even when dispersed and displaced.

Cecilia holds a M.S. in Economics and Management of Arts and Cultural Activities from Ca’ Foscari University Venice and she is currently a doctoral candidate in History of Arts. Her Ph.D. is funded by Ca’ Foscari University, Venice and supervised by Prof. Martina Frank, Guido Zucconi and Emanuele Pellegrini. Her forthcoming dissertation is titled “Austen Henry Layard, as an art collector and amateur”.


TUESDAY, 11th December 6 p.m.

Collecting Histories Forum:  New Research Projects from emerging scholars

this session will be held in collaboration with the Society for the History of Collecting







The Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU