The Emergence of the Antique and Curiosity Dealer in Britain 1815-1850 : The Commodification of Historical Objects book cover
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The Emergence of the Antique and Curiosity Dealer in Britain 1815-1850
The Commodification of Historical Objects




ISBN 9781409405795
Published April 19, 2020 by Routledge
192 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations

 
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Book Description

Rather than the customary focus on the activities of individual collectors, The Emergence of the Antique and Curiosity Dealer in Britain 1815–1850: The Commodification of Historical Objects illuminates the less-studied roles played by dealers in the nineteenthcentury antique and curiosity markets.

Set against the recent ‘art market turn’ in scholarly literature, this volume examines the role, activities, agency and influence of antique and curiosity dealers as they emerged in the opening decades of the nineteenth century. This study begins at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, when dealers began their wholesale importations of historical objects; it closes during the 1850s, after which the trade became increasingly specialised, reflecting the rise of historical museums such as the South Kensington Museum (V&A). Focusing on the archive of the early nineteenth-century London dealer John Coleman Isaac (c.1803–1887), as well as drawing on a wide range of other archival and contextual material, Mark Westgarth considers the emergence of the dealer in relation to a broad historical and cultural landscape. The emergence of the antique and curiosity dealer was part of the rapid economic, social, political and cultural change of early nineteenth-century Britain, centred around ideas of antiquarianism, the commercialisation of culture and a distinctive and evolving interest in historical objects.

This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, histories of collecting, museum and heritage studies and nineteenth-century culture.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: The Spaces of the Discourse

Writing the art market, marginalia to mainstream

Writing the dealer, footnote to fulcrum

The Idea of the Dealer

PART TWO: The Emergence of Historical Consciousness

The Consumption of the Past

Specimens of Ancient Furniture: the emergence of the historical object

PART THREE: The Emergence of the Antique & Curiosity Dealer

John Coleman Isaac (c.1803-1887)

The Market for Antiques and Curiosities 1815-1850

Antique and Curiosity Dealing

PART FOUR: The Spaces of Consumption

The Antique & Curiosity Shop

Dealers and Auctions

Dealers and Exhibitions

EPILOGUE

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Author(s)

Biography

Mark Westgarth is Associate Professor in Art History & Museum Studies at the University of Leeds, UK.