Journal Article

Treasure, not trash

Caroline Vout

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 24, issue 3, pages 309-326
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhr033
Treasure, not trash

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In 1850 John Disney presented the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge with eighty-three pieces of Greek and Roman sculpture. For almost a century, these sculptures had been displayed at The Hyde in Ingatestone, Essex, a house which Disney’s father (also John Disney) inherited from Thomas Brand Hollis who had begun the collection with his friend and fellow radical, Thomas Hollis. This article draws on letters and catalogues, some of them annotated by their authors, to trace the genealogy of the Disney collection in two important ways: first, how the objects in it were acquired, displayed, and, in some cases, sold on, and secondly, how they were classified over time in writing. The results enable the collection and its catalogues to speak to more familiar case-studies like the Townley marbles. They offer important evidence for shifting attitudes to the classical antique from the Enlightenment to the mid nineteenth century.

Journal Article.  11966 words.  Illustrated.

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

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