1st Edition

Early Modern Merchants as Collectors

Edited By Christina M. Anderson Copyright 2017
    266 Pages 8 Color & 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 8 Color & 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Early Modern Merchants as Collectors encourages the rethinking of collecting not as an elite, often aristocratic pursuit, but rather as a vital activity that has engaged many different groups within society. The essays included in this volume consider merchants not only as important collectors in their own right, as opposed to merely agents or middlemen, but also as innovators who determined taste. Through bringing together contributions on merchant collectors across a wide geographical spread, including England, The Netherlands, Venice, Moghul India, China and Japan, among other locations, it aims to challenge the often Eurocentric view of the study of collecting that has shaped the discipline to date. The early modern period and its Wunderkammern formed the subject of some of the earliest, foundational texts on collecting. This volume expands on such previous scholarship, taking a more in-depth look at a particular class of collectors and investigating their motivations, social and economic circumstances, and the intellectual ideas and purposes that informed their collecting. It offers a fresh approach to the understanding of the role of merchants in early modern societies and will serve as a resource to historians of art, science, museums, culture and economics, as well as to scholars of transcultural studies.

    Introduction: The Early Modern Merchant as a Collector

    Christina M. Anderson

    Part I: Beginning to Collect

    1. The Commissioning and Collecting of Portraits by Merchants in Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century England

    Tarnya Cooper

    2. Portraits, Pearls and Things ‘wch are very straunge to owres’: The Lost Collections of the Thorne/Withypoll Trading Syndicate, 1520 – 1550

    Heather Dalton

    Part II: Behaving as Collectors

    3. Tea and Commerce: Japanese Merchants in the Sixteenth Century as Collectors and Creators

    Louise A. Cort

    4. Gardening in Goa – Filippo Sassetti’s Experiences with Indian Medicine and Plants

    Barbara Karl

    Part III: The Role of Provenance

    5. Imperial Treasures in the Hands of a Ming Merchant: Xiang Yuanbian’s Collection

    Amy C. Riggs

    6. Considered Judgement and Prestigious Provenance: Bartolomeo della Nave’s Acquisitions from the Collection of Pietro Bembo

    Susan Nalezyty

    Part IV: Collecting for a Specific Purpose

    7. Boudewijn’s Books: A Dutch Golden Age Merchant and his Library

    Henk Looijesteijn

    8. Complementary Activities: Boschini, del Sera and Renieri as Merchants, Collectors and Painters in Seicento Venice

    Taryn Marie Zarrillo

    Part V: Dealers as Collectors

    9. Between Collection and Stock. The Ambiguous Role of Merchants and Artisans in the Sixteenth-Century Roman Antiquities Market

    Barbara Furlotti

    10. Merchants as Collectors and Art Dealers: The Cases of Daniel Nijs and Carlo Hellemans, Flemish Merchants in Venice

    Christina M. Anderson

    Part VI: Later Generations of Merchant Collectors

    11. Brothers in Collecting: Thomas and Jacob Rehdiger – Two Sixteenth-Century Silesian Art Collectors and Bibliophiles

    Aleksandra Lipińska

    12. Gaspard de Monconys, Provost-Marshal of the Merchants and Collector in Seventeenth-Century Lyon

    Anne-Lise Tropato

    Part VII: Merchants and Collecting in the Islamicate World

    13. ‘Ali Akbar’s Red Horse – Collecting Arab Horses in the Early Modern Culture of Empire

    Elizabeth Lambourn


    Christina M. Anderson is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Faculty, and Research Fellow in the Study of Collecting at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK.

    "The … essays were selected in order to produce a broad polyfocal perspective that includes a variety of geographical (also non-western) milieus, motivations, [and] social and economic circumstances … The questions raised … address a wide range of collecting categories … [providing] a wealth of refreshing perspectives on the topic.  In particular, through focusing on "merchants as collectors" … [the volume explores] an anthropological dimension of the practice of collecting: When is a collection a collection? …  What about the collection as a warehouse? The answers to [these questions] can be as diverse as the case studies here, like the reading of Early Modern Merchants as Collectors teaches … The questions themselves will not become obsolete."

    --Michael Wenzel, Frühneuzeit-Info