Journal Article

Compiling ‘God's great book [of] universal nature’: The Royal Society's collecting strategies

Jennifer Thomas

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 23, issue 1, pages 1-13
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhq013
Compiling ‘God's great book [of] universal nature’: The Royal Society's collecting strategies

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This paper will examine the Royal Society's approaches to accumulating objects for its repository from the first reference to the collection in the Society's administrative records in 1663 to 1781, when the repository was transferred to the British Museum. It will become apparent that the Society employed numerous methods to obtain objects for its collection, particularly in the initial and latter stages of the repository's existence. However success in acquiring items was largely reliant on the enthusiasm of the Society's individual members and is likely to have been hindered, particularly in the eighteenth century, by increasing competition for specimens from other collections, not least that of the Society's president, Sir Hans Sloane.

Journal Article.  9614 words. 

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

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