CFPs in Renaissance Intellectual History

Collecting Beyond the Book: Oxford Libraries as Cabinets of Curiosities

Source of Information: FICINO 1999-03-11
Date of Event: 2000-01-15
Deadline for abstracts etc.: 1999-07-01

Collecting Beyond the Book: Oxford Libraries as Cabinets of Curiosities

Christ Church Oxford Saturday 15th January 2000

Call for Papers

The history of collecting is a well-established discipline.
Yet its insights and practices have never been applied to
Oxford libraries, which continued to be studied and
described purely in terms of their holdings of books and
manuscripts.  This reflects nineteenth- and
twentieth-century reorganisation of the earlier Oxford
collections, in which printed books, manuscripts and music
were separated from coins and medals; portraits, prints and
drawings were displayed in a different building from
anatomical, botanical and mineralogical specimens; musical
instruments and curiosities were divided from mathematical
instruments and globes.  This process involved a
significant loss of the context these various objects had
originally shared when housed together in libraries which
were cabinets, rather than mere book-repositories.

It is the aim of this conference to consider ways in which,
through changes in practice in writing Oxford library
history, and in methods of cataloguing collections, we may
recover some of their original meaning.  For the objects
which made up these collections have been divided, but not
lost or dispersed; most are still in Oxford.

Christ Church Library will provide the focus for some of
the papers.  In the eighteenth century the Library
contained pictures, prints and drawings.  These are now in
the adjacent Picture Gallery.  The Library also housed the
4th Earl of Orrery's vast collection of books and
scientific instruments.  These last have been transferred
to the Museum of the History of Science, while the
Library's holdings of coins and medals are now in the
Ashmolean.  Delegates will be able to view some of the
collections, and attend a reception in the Picture Gallery.

Enquiries and abstracts (by 1 July 1999) to:
Mark Purcell
The Library
Christ Church
Oxford OX1 1DP

Christoper Baker, Kate Bennett, Mark Purcell,
8th March, 1999

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