From drawing room to sale-room: albums of medieval manuscript cuttings in the 1920s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

19th-century collectors built up significant holdings of medieval manuscripts, but their descendants did not always share their tastes, resulting in the sale and dispersal of their collections in the 20th century. The 'Roaring Twenties', a decade characterised by extensive cultural change, is a productive decade to investigate the initial fragmentation of Victorian collections, and in particular to begin tracing the fate of a specific type of object, the album of medieval manuscript cuttings. Few such albums remain intact today. Frequently when bound collections came up for sale they were broken up to realise greater profits through the sale of individual pieces. Trying to pinpoint when this practice of breaking began is one of the underlying research questions behind this essay. The essay offers an analysis of the sale of medieval cuttings or fragments through Sotheby's auction house during the 1920s, focusing on the particular example of the bound album. This contributes more generally to an understanding of the movements of medieval manuscript materials during the inter-war era.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe pre-modern manuscript trade and its consequences ca. 1890-1945
EditorsLaura Cleaver, Danielle Magnusson, Hannah Morcos, Angéline Rais
Place of PublicationYork
PublisherArc Humanities Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781802702071
ISBN (Print)9781802701371
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024
EventThe international trade in pre-modern manuscripts 1890-1945 and the making of the Middle Ages - Institute of Historical Research, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Sept 202223 Sept 2023
https://ies.sas.ac.uk/events/international-trade-pre-modern-manuscripts-1890-1945-and-making-middle-ages

Publication series

NameCollection development, cultural heritage, and digital humanities

Conference

ConferenceThe international trade in pre-modern manuscripts 1890-1945 and the making of the Middle Ages
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period20/09/2223/09/23
Internet address

Keywords

  • Cuttings
  • Medieval
  • Manuscript
  • Auction
  • Sale
  • 1920s
  • Fragment
  • Album
  • Trade

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