Dialogues: Things and Their Collectors

Day: Friday 6 April


Nicole Cochrane (University of Hull)
Lizzie Rogers (University of Hull)
Charlotte Johnson (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Session Abstract

Acts of acquiring, collecting, curating and reception of the object are generally understood as reciprocal relations between the collector and the object of desire. However, the content of that exchange or dialogue has often been taken for granted. Collecting for display and social advancement, collecting as speculation, collecting for love etc. have too often been accepted as self-explanatory, diverting academic enquiry elsewhere, and obscuring the complexities at the heart of collecting practice. This session builds on the recent development of scholarship in this field, exploring the push and pull between things and collectors, artists and institutions. It questions how dialogues between parties transform the status, values, identity and character of each. It will engage with some of the more difficult questions relating to collecting and identity, and illuminate some of the moments, movements and materials which have created, sustained and changed these dialogues.


Speakers and Papers

Barbara Pezzini (University of Manchester & the National Gallery) Prime Minister, Collector and Collectable: William Gladstone and his ‘things’, William Gladstone as a ‘thing’

Sarah Wade (UCL) and Jane Wildgoose (King’s College London & Wildgoose Memorial Library) All That Remains:Loss, mourning and touching specimens at the Wildgoose Memorial Library

Nicole Cochrane (University of Hull) A Beautiful Ruin: Loss and legacy in the collection of Sir John Soane

Nada Kancevova (Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava) On Collecting Socialist Design: Between the
ordinary and the curiosity

Charlotte Ashby (Birkbeck) Ceramic Dialogues: Japan, Hamburg and Copenhagen

Rachel Gotlieb (Gardiner Museum & Alfred University) A Victorian Jug as Mutable Museum Signifier

Sarah Coviello (Warburg Institute) When Objects Become Connoisseurs: Herbert Horne and the attribution of the Torregiani Panels

Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth (University of Leeds) ‘Sèvres-mania’: Being collected by Sèvres porcelain ‘ship’ vases?

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