History events at the IHR

Collecting after the Commune: Contested Notions of Heritage in France c. 1870-1890

24 March 2014, 18:00 - 20:00

Event Type: Seminar


Tom Stammers (Durham)


The 1870s were critical decades in the relationship between private collectors and the French state, as decades of distrust gave way to new forms of collaboration. In the wake of the fires of the Commune, a militant vocabulary of salvage emerged, which depicted private property, the metropolitan environment and civilization itself as in peril. Through focusing on a couple of key collections- including those of baron Jules Pichon and Leopold Double- this paper will explore the way in which private collectors posed as custodians of the splendours of the old regime, and formulated notions of heritage which ran counter to those of the republican state. Following this controversy through to the 1880s, and the decision of the republican government to sell off most of the French crown jewels in 1887, the paper examines the ways in which debates over taste, ownership and patrimoine were enmeshed with wider civic and political struggles. 

Tom Stammers is lecturer at Modern European Cultural History at Durham. He has previously been appointed as a junior research fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; a visiting Fernard Braudel fellow at the Fondation Maison Sciences de l'Homme; and a visiting lecturer at NYU, Paris. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled 'Collection, recollection, revolution' which explores the contribution of private collectors to the theory and practice of heritage in post-revolutionary Paris. Future projects include a study of autodidacts and the visual arts in nineteenth-century France.

Venue: Room 104 (Senate House, first floor)

Senate House
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.

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