Journal Article

‘Splendid patriotism’

Barbara Lasic

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 173-182
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhp009
‘Splendid patriotism’

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This article examines the transformation of the Wallace Collection, London, from private collection to national museum and the consecutive phases of its passage from the private to the public sphere. Set against the background of the late Victorian exhibitionary field, it argues that the collection's arrival in Britain in 1871 prompted a new era with the emphasis placed upon the collection's increased visibility and accessibility to a wider audience. It further examines the motives underlying the bequest of the Wallace Collection to the British nation and the tensions inherent in the transformation of a dynastic site into a national museum. Analysis of the methods of display and admission policies applied at the Wallace Collection also demonstrates that the museum was cast as an exemplar of high culture that materialized the collecting practices of three generations of connoisseurs but also spectacularized their art de vivre.

Journal Article.  6068 words.  Illustrated.

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

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