Journal Article

On the archival rhetoric of inventories

Christina Normore

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 23, issue 2, pages 215-227
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhq029
On the archival rhetoric of inventories

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While the value of inventories as sources for data relating to objects is well known, the practical and conceptual implications of their rhetoric have been underestimated. This paper examines the 1404 inventory of Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy and the 1405 inventory of Duchess Margaret of Flanders, comparing them with each other, with contemporary inventories of Burgundian subjects, and with other forms of accounting. This analysis reveals the highly specific nature of the content and forms of these inventories, together with the important role they performed in consolidating social order and in negotiating moments of transition. The political role of Valois Burgundian inventories in their own time is considered in relation to their modern role as historical monuments, and it is argued that attention to the mediation and selectivity which they display imposes practical limitations on some aspects of their use, while also opening new avenues for research.

Journal Article.  9873 words. 

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

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