Seminar in the History of Collecting

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Seminar in the History of Collecting

Seminar in the History of Collecting

Date: Monday 27 February 2023
Time: 17.30-19.00 GMT
Location: Zoom (Online)
Speaker: Dr Caroline Dakers (Professor Emerita in Cultural History, University of Arts London)
Seminar Title: Millionaire shopping: the collections of Alfred Morrison (1821–1897)

Registration: This talk will be hosted online through Zoom. Please click here to register.

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Description: As the editor and principal contributor of the forthcoming publication ‘Millionaire shopping’, Dr Caroline Dakers will present an overview of the extraordinary collections of Alfred Morrison, one of the most important but most neglected of late 19th-century collectors. She will discuss the impact of his upbringing as the second son of the merchant James Morrison, one of the richest commoners in England, and a collector of some distinction, and his own inheritance of part of William Beckford’s Fonthill estate.

His approach to collecting was both catholic and competitive. His taste ranged across Old Masters and contemporary art; autographs, manuscripts and engraved portraits of famous men and women; coins and medals; Chinese ceramics, many from the Summer Palace; Spanish damascene work and enamelled objets d’art commissioned from French craftsmen. But he was never content with a few examples within each area. Thus, he amassed several thousand pieces of porcelain, thousands of engraved portraits, most of Charles Lepec’s enamel work and most of John Brett’s paintings. He commissioned the architect-designer Owen Jones, in collaboration with the firm of Jackson and Graham, to provide internal fittings, furniture and furnishings for both his London town house in Carlton House Terrace and Fonthill House in Wiltshire.

Dr Dakers will examine why Morrison has remained relatively obscure, including the impact of his young widow selling the major part of his collections shortly after he died.

About the Speaker: Caroline Dakers was appointed Professor of Cultural History at the University of the Arts London in 1998 shortly before the publication by Yale University Press of her book The Holland Park Circle: Artists in Victorian Society. Her most recent publications include A Genius for Money, Business, Art and the Morrisons (Yale, 2011) and Fonthill Recovered: A Cultural History (UCL Press, 2018). During her teaching career at Central Saint Martins she established and ran the BA Hons degree course, Culture, Criticism and Curation. In addition to editing and contributing to ‘Alfred Morrison: Millionaire Shopping,’ to be published by UCL Press, she is researching a book about the image of the artist in Britain to be published by Princeton University Press.

Image Credit: Ignacio Zuloaga, Alfred Morrison, c.1894, private collection

See the full 2023 Seminar in the History of Collecting programme here


Date & Times

Date Start Time End Time
27/02/2023 17:30 19:00