Journal of the History of Collections 26 (March 2014)

Posted in journal articles by Editor on March 1, 2014

The eighteenth century in the current issue of the Journal of the History of Collections:

Journal of the History of Collections 26 (March 2014)


José Saporiti Machado and Miguel Telles Antunes, “Aniceto Rapozo’s Cabinet at the Lisbon Academy of Sciences: A Window into Brazilian Eighteenth-Century Timber Resources,” pp. 21–33.

From the end of the eighteenth until the beginning of the nineteenth century, wood samples were regularly sent to the Royal Army Arsenal in Lisbon for testing. The large number and variety of samples, as well as increasing interest on Brazil, explain why, in 1805, the Prince Regent of Portugal commissioned the preparation of four collections containing 1,213 timber specimens from Brazil and twelve from other origins. One of these collections, housed in a cabinet at the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, is now being studied in order to reveal its origins and to identify the wood samples. Botanical identifications will provide valuable information about the wood resources and the species used by furniture-makers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Arthur MacGregor, “Patrons and Collectors: Contributors of Zoological Subjects to the Works of George Edwards (1694–1773),” pp. 35–44.

Through his lavishly illustrated and eminently accessible Natural History of Uncommon Birds (1743–51) and Gleanings of Natural History (1758–64), George Edwards became one of the most influential naturalists and illustrators of mid-eighteenth-century England. The specimens on which he relied – either alive, stuffed, or in spirits – were generally in the ownership of others and his practice of carefully acknowledging the source of each of his subjects sheds considerable light on the extent to which exotic birds and animals were to be found in the possession of a range of owners from wealthy grandees to humble citizens, as well as specialist traders who emerged to supply this growing market. Edwards’s texts are drawn upon here to chart the degree to which exotic species, alive or dead, had begun to penetrate households great and small by the mid 1700s, particularly in the London area; an online appendix lists and identifies those who supplied him with specimens.

Debora J. Meijers, “An Exchange of Paintings between the Courts of Vienna and Florence in 1792–1793: A Logical Step Taken at the Right Moment,” pp. 45–61.

It may come as a surprise that in the turbulent political period of spring 1792 a decision was taken at the courts of Vienna and Florence to carry out an exchange of paintings, the aim of which was ‘to complete’ the collections of the Emperor and the Grand Duke, each ‘with the profusion of the other’. There are, however, signs that this step originated in the recent past of both galleries and further that it related to the developments of that particular historical moment. The exchange can be interpreted as a logical consequence of the recently introduced taxonomic division into schools, the advancement of which would lead to an unprecedented level of ‘completeness’. Besides being a perfect seed-bed for emerging artists, the presentation of ‘all’ the schools could also be seen as a metaphor for political power. But in this time of war with France the exchange served mainly as a bond between two brothers who were pursuing very different political courses.


• David Howarth, Review of Christopher Rowell, ed., Ham House: 400 Years of Collecting and Patronage (2013), pp. 117–19.

• Rosemary Sweet, Review of Noah Heringman, Sciences of Antiquity: Romantic Antiquarianism: Natural History and Knowledge Work (2013), pp. 119–20.

• Arthur MacGregor, Review of Glyn Williams, Naturalists at Sea: Scientific Travellers from Dampier to Darwin (2013), pp. 120–22.

• Mark A. Roglán, Review of Shelley M. Bennett, The Art of Wealth: The Huntingtons in the Gilded Age (2013), p. 125.

• Fiona Savage, Review of Sarah Longair and John McAleer, eds., Curating Empire: Museums and the British Imperial Experience (2012), pp. 125–26.

• Francesco Paolo de Ceglia, Review of Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future (2013), pp. 126–27.

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