Journal Article

The purchase of the ‘Tara’ brooch in 1868

Philip McEvansoneya

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 77-88
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhr013
The purchase of the ‘Tara’ brooch in 1868

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Although there are numerous official documents from the nineteenth century detailing the circumstances in which certain highly important Irish antiquities were purchased by the British government for deposit in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, their potential as sources for the study of the history of those objects has not been fully recognized. Amongst the items secured for posterity few if any exceeded the ‘Tara’ brooch in historic and aesthetic importance. By concentrating on the brooch, we can analyse some of the processes by which the Academy was able to collect the items it desired. Those very collecting processes helped to attribute significance to such items as, in the terminology of the era, ‘national antiquities’.

Journal Article.  8813 words.  Illustrated.

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

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