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From New Cythera to Soho Square. Voyaging, exploring and collecting the World in the Eighteenth Century

Dates:
  • Mon 17 Feb 2020 11.30 - 13.00
  Add to Calendar 2020-02-17 11:30 2020-02-17 13:00 Europe/Paris From New Cythera to Soho Square. Voyaging, exploring and collecting the World in the Eighteenth Century

Whether we are looking at Polynesian hatches, musical instruments, or ceremonial vestments, these can all be considered artefacts of encounter which have been collected from strange lands and which have been drawn, described and painted as objects that bear witness to other worlds. Over the course of the eighteenth century, these artefacts of encounter arrived in an ever increasing number in private European collections, and they also grew in unprecedented value according to the richness of the story that they could tell Europeans about new worlds. To possess these objects and to see them on display enabled both the curious public and the devoted specialist to apprehend at the very least the traces of these faraway lands. These artefacts thus functioned as privileged channels of communication where one gained insight into the technical work of the distant artisan, the sacral system undergirding a particular piece of ritual clothing, and so on. These objects that bore witness to other cultures were prized as collector items and as gifts, and were studied and sometimes reproduced.

In such conditions, these objects transformed the spaces in which they were put on display and where scholars worked. This was especially the case with sir Joseph Banks, whose massive collection forced him to move to a large residence on Soho Square in 1777 where his personal librarians and closest scientific collaborators lived and worked. In this lecture, I will also focus on André Michaux antient and new worlds, from his botanical journey across the Levant and Mesopotamia to his discovering of the eponym ‘Michaux stone’ and its undeciphered (at the time) cuneiform inscriptions

Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Whether we are looking at Polynesian hatches, musical instruments, or ceremonial vestments, these can all be considered artefacts of encounter which have been collected from strange lands and which have been drawn, described and painted as objects that bear witness to other worlds. Over the course of the eighteenth century, these artefacts of encounter arrived in an ever increasing number in private European collections, and they also grew in unprecedented value according to the richness of the story that they could tell Europeans about new worlds. To possess these objects and to see them on display enabled both the curious public and the devoted specialist to apprehend at the very least the traces of these faraway lands. These artefacts thus functioned as privileged channels of communication where one gained insight into the technical work of the distant artisan, the sacral system undergirding a particular piece of ritual clothing, and so on. These objects that bore witness to other cultures were prized as collector items and as gifts, and were studied and sometimes reproduced.

In such conditions, these objects transformed the spaces in which they were put on display and where scholars worked. This was especially the case with sir Joseph Banks, whose massive collection forced him to move to a large residence on Soho Square in 1777 where his personal librarians and closest scientific collaborators lived and worked. In this lecture, I will also focus on André Michaux antient and new worlds, from his botanical journey across the Levant and Mesopotamia to his discovering of the eponym ‘Michaux stone’ and its undeciphered (at the time) cuneiform inscriptions


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

Organiser:
Stéphane Van Damme

Speaker:
Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire (Université Côte d’Azur)

Attachment:
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