History events at the IHR

The Value of a Collection: Where Did the Collector in Early Modern Europe Place Value?

18 February 2013, 18:00 - 20:00

Event Type: Seminar


Adriana Turpin


'A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing', Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

The question of value as perceived by the collector asks the historian to move from the traditional history of collecting to place the collector within the market, where his role can be described both as consumer and supplier. Because the story of collecting and the role of collectors has been seen primarily from the point of view of the museum curator or cataloguer and more recently the cultural historian, the collector is not necessarily perceived within the context of economic studies. Equally, while art historians have considered patronage in economic and cultural terms, seeing it as a form of production, this is less true in the study of the history of collecting, where the notion of value, still, as for Oscar Wilde, is used generally as a reflection of worth and where the purpose of a collection is seen primarily in cultural and social terms rather than economic. This paper presents a survey of different expressions of value from the Renaissance to the 19th century in order to show how ideas of the value of a work of art have or have not shifted in an expanding art market.
Adriana Turpin is one of the three founding members of the Collecting and Display seminar group and is Academic Director of two MAs run by the Institut d’Etudes Superieres des Arts dealing with collecting and the art market .

Venue: Room 349, Senate House, third floor

Venue: Room 349 (3rd floor)

Senate House, South Block
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

Related Events: Collecting & Display History