Curiosity and Enlightenment: Collectors and Collections from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century

Author(s): Arthur MacGregor

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This fascinating and unique book offers a history of museum collecting in western Europe over the course of its formative centuries, tracing its origins from the culture of collecting that emerged during the Renaissance, which served the purposes of both prestige and academic enquiry, and concluding with the great changes of the nineteenth century which would prove so influential to the museum movement of later years. Taking into account both individual collectors and public institutions, Arthur MacGregor covers topics such as the methods by which materials from both the manmade and natural world were selected and displayed, problems of preservation and presentation, the specialization of individual areas, such as fine arts, antiquities or natural history, as well as the developments of the nineteenth century which brought such collections within the reach of a much wider public. With the aid of 200 images, this book offers for the first time a wide-ranging survey of this entire process as well as the changing preoccupations of collectors, all set within a broader social context.


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"Fills a gap in the scholarship. . . . MacGregor's erudition and skill in discovering new documents and objects are admirable, as is his restraint in remaining close to his sources. . . . This beautifully produced book is typical of the high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail at Yale University Press under Gillian Malpass."--William Breazeale, "Sixteenth Century Journal"--William Breazeale "Sixteenth Century Journal "

Arthur MacGregor is Senior Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

General Fields

  • : 9780300124934
  • : Yale University Press
  • : Yale University Press
  • : November 2007
  • : 275mm X 210mm X 29mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Arthur MacGregor
  • : 170 b&w illustrations + 30 colour images
  • : 288
  • : 707.5
  • : Hardback