Journal Article

‘A thing to be seen’

Philip McEvansoneya

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 95-110
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhn028
‘A thing to be seen’

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A bundle of letters in the Print Room of the Ashmolean Museum details the assembly by the artist, George Sharp, on behalf of his friend and pupil, the diplomat John [later Sir John] Crampton, of a collection of watercolours by leading British artists, including David Cox and Copley Fielding. The letters, supplemented from other manuscript sources, document an unrecognized episode in the history of watercolour collecting. The initial destination of the collection was Washington where Crampton was well integrated, as a collector and able amateur artist, in the rapidly evolving art world. For Sharp, the collection served a number of purposes: it decorated Crampton's house; it demonstrated to Crampton's American friends the superiority of the British school of watercolour painting; it provided models for Crampton's own painting, and it was intended to hold its value as an investment.

Journal Article.  9933 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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