New Book | Women and the Art and Science of Collecting

Posted in books by Editor on October 7, 2020

From Routledge:

Arlene Leis and Kacie Wills, eds., Women and the Art and Science of Collecting in Eighteenth-Century Europe (New York: Routledge, 2020), 212 pages, ISBN 978-0367856663, $160.

Through both longer essays and shorter case studies, this book examines the relationship of European women from various countries and backgrounds to collecting, in order to explore the social practices and material and visual cultures of collecting in eighteenth-century Europe. It recovers their lives and examines their interests, their methodologies, and their collections and objects—some of which have rarely been studied before. The book also considers women’s role as producers, that is, creators of objects that were collected. Detailed examination of the artefacts—both visually, and in relation to their historical contexts—exposes new ways of thinking about collecting in relation to the arts and sciences in eighteenth-century Europe. The book is interdisciplinary in its makeup and brings together scholars from a wide range of fields. It will be of interest to those working in art history, material and visual culture, history of collecting, history of science, literary studies, women’s studies, gender studies, and art conservation.

Arlene Leis is an independent art historian who received her PhD from the University of York. Kacie L. Wills received her PhD in English from the University of California, Riverside, and is Assistant Professor of English at Illinois College.


Part I: Artificialia and Naturalia
1  Anne Harbers and Andrea Gáldy, Science, Gender and Collecting: The Dutch Eighteenth-Century Ladies’ Society for Physical Sciences of Middelburg
2  Irina Schmiedel, Between Art and Science: Portraits of Citrus Fruit for Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici
3  Kelsey Brosnan, Anne Vallayer-Coster’s Still Life with Sea Shells and Coral

Part II: Travel, Borders, and Networks
4  Katharina Schmidt-Loske, Maria Sibylla Merian: A Woman’s Pioneering Work in Entomology
5  Erica Hayes and Kacie L. Wills, Sarah Sophia Banks’s Coin Collection: Female Networks of Exchange
6  Lizzie Rogers, Conversing with Collecting the World: Elite Female Sociability and Learning through Objects in the Age of Enlightenment
7  Maria Antonietta Spadero, Portrait of Charlotte de France: from Naples to Sicily, a Collection in Transit
8  Charis Ch. Avlonitou, The Collecting Activity of Catherine II in Eighteenth-Century Russia: Pioneering Action or Sheer Demonstration of Power?

Part III: Displaying, Recording, and Cataloguing
9  Madeleine Pelling, ‘I made memorandums’: Mary Hamilton, Sociability, and Antiquarianism in the Eighteenth-Century Collection
10  Nicole Cochrane, Eleanor Coade, John Soane, and the Coade Caryatid
11  Ryna Ordynat, Anne Wagner’s Album (1795–1805): Collecting Feminine Friendship
12  Hanneke Grootenboer, An Art Cabinet in Miniature: The Dollhouse of Petronella Oortman

Part IV: Beyond the Eighteenth Century
13  Anna Frances O’Regan, Collection, Display, and Conservation: The Print Room at Castletown House
14  Arlene Leis, Olivia Lanza di Mazzarino (1893–1970): A Lady’s Collection of Eighteenth-Century Folding Fans


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