Call for Papers | Private Collecting and Public Display

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 17, 2016


Frederick MacKenzie, The National Gallery When at Mr J. J. Angerstein’s House, Pall Mall, 1824–34, watercolour
(London: V&A, 40-1887)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Private Collecting and Public Display: Art Markets and Museums
University of Leeds, 30–31 March 2017

Proposals due by 1 November 2016

Keynote Speaker: Susanna Avery-Quash

This two-day conference investigates the relationships between ‘private’ collections of art (fine art, decorative art, and antiquities) and the changing dynamics of their display in ‘public’ exhibitions and museums. This shift from ‘private’ to ‘public’ involves a complex dialectic of socio-cultural forces, together with an increasing engagement with the art market. The conference aims to explore the relationship between the ‘private’ and ‘public’ spheres of the home and the museum and to situate this within the scholarship of the histories of the art market and collecting.

Art collections occupy a cultural space which can represent the individual identity of a collector—often as a manifestation of self-expression and social class. Many museums today arose from ‘private’ collections including The Wallace Collection, Musée Nissim de Camondo, The Frick Collection, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Whilst they now exist as ‘public’ spaces, many still signify the residues of the ‘private’ home of a collector. What processes do collections undergo when they move from a ‘private’ sphere to a ‘public’ exhibition space? In what ways are collections viewed differently in these environments?

How and when do ‘private’ collections move into the ‘public’ domain, and what does this tell us about the increasingly porous nature of these boundaries? Whilst the relationship between ‘private’ and ‘public’ art collecting takes on particular forms from the early modern period onwards, it emerged particularly in the latter half of the nineteenth century, with the creation of temporary exhibitions and permanent displays in museums that relied on donations from collectors. Many national museums are indebted to loans made by private individuals. The Waddesdon Bequest at The British Museum, the Wrightsman Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum, and the John Jones Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum are key examples of the continuity of the private in the public. What are the ‘private’ to ‘public’ dynamics of these exchanges? How have museums negotiated the restrictions proposed by the collector for the display, containment, expansion or reinterpretation of their collection? What is the implication for the status and value of an object when ‘public’ works are sold and re-enter the art market? What meanings are attached to ‘public’ art objects when they begin, once again, to circulate in the art market?

The PGR subcommittee of the Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market welcomes proposals for 20-minute papers which explore these themes or which address any other aspect of the private collecting and public display of collections, from the Early Modern period until the 21st century. We are delighted to confirm Dr. Susanna Avery-Quash, Senior Research Curator (History of Collecting) at the National Gallery, London as our keynote speaker.

Topics can include but are not limited to
• The relationships between ‘private’ and ‘public’ spheres
• The role and impact of the art market in the ‘public’ and ‘private’ realms
• The history and role of temporary loan exhibitions
• The role played by gender in collecting practices and bequests
• Collecting and loaning objects by minority groups
• Legacies of the collector
• Philanthropy vs self-promotion
• Deaccessioning- public museums selling art back into art market/into private collections
• The dynamic of contemporary art collecting and public art galleries

To propose a paper, please send a Word document with your contact information, paper title, an abstract of 300-500 words, and a short biographical note. Full session proposals for a panel of three papers are also welcomed. Some travel bursaries will be available for accepted speakers. Proposals should be sent to csaa@leeds.ac.uk by 1st November 2016.

New Book | Paper Peepshows

Posted in books by Editor on July 17, 2016

From ACC Distribution:

Ralph Hyde, Paper Peepshows: The Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner Collection (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2015), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1851498000, $90.

image(1)Peepshows were introduced in the mid-eighteenth century by Martin Engelbrecht in Augsburg. They called for a long wooden cabinet designed for purpose incorporating a viewing lens and sometimes a mirror. In the 1820s peepshows made entirely of paper appeared on the scene more or less at the same moment in Vienna, London and Paris. The clumsy cabinet was no longer called for. The new peepshow was equipped with paper bellows so it could be expanded or contracted in a trice. Paper peepshows were light; they were comparatively cheap. They fitted neatly into the pocket. Viewing a Paper Peepshow is an intimate, individual experience that, in the age of television and hand-held computers, gives a real sense of personal discovery. The viewer engages by peeping through a tiny hole and thereby discovers inside layers of images, like a pocket-sized stage set.

The format lent itself to a wide variety of subjects: to coronations and to state visits and funerals, to pleasure gardens, to trips up rivers and to the ceremonial openings of new railways, to distant views of cities and to tourist landmarks, to military engagements in exotic places, and to the July Revolution and the fall of the Bourbons in France in 1830. The Crystal Palace, erected in Hyde Park 1851 for the Great Exhibition, inspired the production of very large numbers of peepshows, mostly made overseas and imported. Peepshows made possible visits to sites existing in the imagination, to plunge down Alice’s rabbit hole, for example, and to wander through the Garden of Eden in Paradise.

The main center of peepshow manufacture in the nineteenth century was toy-making Nuremburg. Briefly in the 1950s it was Britain. Nowadays it is the United States. Paper peepshows are no longer intended essentially for children but for bibliophiles and art-appreciating adults.

This stunning book charts the history of these charming collectables. The illustrated catalogue section includes the following data where known: country of origin, publisher, date, method of printing (e.g. chromolithograph), shape and dimensions, and number of scenes. As well as a full description of each piece, the author gives fascinating historical and cultural context for these items—ranging from depictions of the July Revolution (Paris, 1830), to the opening of the Thames Tunnel, to the nursery tale of Puss in Boots.


Foreword by Erkki Huhtamo
• The Gestetner Paper Peeshow Collection at the V&A
• The Story of Paper Peepshows
• What We Peep With
Catalogue: Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, The Netherlands, United States of America, Unknown Origin

Appendix 1: Peepshow View Boxes
Appendix 2: Table-top Tableaux in the Gestetner Collection
Appendix 3: Boîtes d’optique in the the Gestetner Collection

General Index
Title Index