Journal Article

Treasures fit for a king

Carlos Gómez-Centurión

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 29-44
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhp036
Treasures fit for a king

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The practice of collecting exotic animals saw an unprecedented rise at the Spanish court in the eighteenth century, particularly during the reign of Charles III. His most prized specimens were three Indian elephants, regarded as genuine crown jewels and symbolizing the power, wealth and prestige of a great sovereign more eloquently than any other animal. They gave a clear sign of the breadth and strength of his diplomacy, the influence of which extended as far away as India. The interest aroused by their acquisition and the diplomatic procedures involved are examined here, together with the problems encountered in bringing these animals to the Iberian Peninsula and maintaining them in the unusual conditions of the Aranjuez Palace.

Journal Article.  9996 words.  Illustrated.

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

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