The Other Hamilton: Sir William Hamilton and the Revolution in Eighteenth-Century Collecting

Date: 18 October 2016
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: East City Bookshop, Washington DC
Lecturer: Michael F. Suarez, S.J. - Director, Rare Book School

With its striking ocher and black hand-painted illustrations of Greek vases, Pierre-François Hughes D’Hancarville’s Complete Collection of Antiquities from the Cabinet of Sir William Hamilton in four large folio volumes (Naples, 1766 [1767]ff) is a monumental textual artifact. This presentation will help the audience both to think about this book, itself the representation of a great collection, in its contemporary contexts, and to consider the manifold ways in which the representation of ancient artifacts in its pages occasioned a series of subsequent material representations—with remarkable cultural consequence. How does the material text, itself a collectible artifact, both depict and distort the historical object? What versions of antiquity ensue in print and replica, and how do their embodiments shape the activities of both museum and marketplace? We will consider how Hamilton’s Cabinet gave rise to a fashion for collecting in France, Italy, and England. With the rise of antiquaries and the exhibition of their collections through books (which, in turn were themselves collected) as well as displays, how are the library and the museum united in the accumulation and display of artifacts—and in the knowledge that comes from reading historical collections with the book in hand?

This lecture will be held at East City Bookshop (645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100) in Washington, DC. As space at the venue is limited, we ask that you sign up using the form below: 

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