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Call for papers “Early Modern Merchants as Collectors”

Call for papers “Early Modern Merchants as Collectors”

Dr Christina Anderson at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK, is organising the conference on "Early Modern Merchants as Collectors" in June next year.

The Call for Papers is posted on the conference website:

Early Modern Merchants as Collectors

Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

15 and 16 June 2012


In 1615, Vincenzo Scamozzi highlighted the importance in Venice of the merchant-collectors Bartolomeo dalla Nave and Daniel Nijs by including descriptions of their collections in his L’Idea della architettura universale.  Scholarship has also moved beyond the consideration of the artist and the patron as the principal protagonists in the history of collecting.  As a result, merchants are now being regarded by historians as influential collectors in their own right.

With the 1985 publication of The Origin of Museums, a collection of conference papers edited by Oliver Impey and Arthur MacGregor, the Ashmolean Museum became established as a leading institution for research in the history of collecting.  Recently re-opened with innovative galleries displaying objects exploring the theme ‘Crossing Cultures Crossing Time’, the new Ashmolean now affords an opportunity to re-visit the 1985 conference topic and not only to update but also to expand it into this fresh area of research and debate.  This interdisciplinary conference will explore early modern merchants as collectors across a wide range of geographical regions and collecting categories, investigating whether there are any patterns connecting these merchant-collectors of the early modern period and what theoretical frameworks can be applied to them.

Call for Papers

This will be a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary and international discussion of an emerging, yet proven, line of research.  Accordingly, scholars working on merchants who were active in any region of the world and whose collections included objects from any collecting category are invited to submit proposals.

Papers may address the collecting of a single merchant or group of merchants and should fall within the period circa 1450-1650, although topics falling outside of this date range will be considered if a compelling reason for their inclusion can be made.  Contributions may be based on inventories but, equally, they may address the cultural context or any other aspect of a merchant’s or merchants’ collecting activities.

Proposals should be no longer than 500 words in length and must be accompanied by a CV.  Proposals and queries should be addressed, electronically only, to Dr. Christina Anderson, Honorary Research Fellow at the Ashmolean Museum, at  The deadline for submission is 31 May 2011.  Those submitting proposals will be contacted as soon as possible thereafter.