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Geographies of Contact

 | 
Caroline Lehni
, 
Fanny Moghaddassi
, 
Hélène Ibata
, 
et al.

III. Objects Transferred

Oriental Objects in 17th Century English Cabinets of Curiosities: The Tradescant Collection

Christoph Heyl

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Extrait du texte

The purpose of this paper is to present some observations and comments on oriental1 objects in English collections of the 17th century. Its main focus will be on one particular English collection, that of the Tradescants. This collection was singled out because of its extraordinary importance and impact, and also because it is fairly well-documented.

To begin with, I am going to address some basic aspects of cabinets of curiosities to put my findings regarding oriental objects in context. What were the characteristics of a cabinet of curiosities? Who owned and assembled such collections? Why did people collect the things they did, and who had a chance to see them?

This will be followed by more specific questions regarding things oriental. What were the objects most likely to make their way into such collections (and especially into the Tradescant collection)? What might these objects have meant to the owners and visitors of such a collection? What sort of ideas were they connected wit...

Auteur

Chair of British Literature and Culture at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Previous stages of his education and career include Goethe-Universität (Frankfurt), the German Historical Institute (London), the School of Advanced Study, UCL (London), Otto-Friedrich-Universität (Bamberg) and Humboldt-Universität (Berlin). He has worked on a wide range of topics from the early modern period to the present day. These include collections and collectors in seventeenth-century England (and the literature they inspired), seventeenth-century poetry and early scientific prose, the rise of the private sphere in eighteenth-century London and related phenomena in literature and the visual arts, crime and crime fiction from the seventeenth century, disasters such as the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, Hogarth’s paintings and engravings, Handel’s oratorios, Scottish music and the musical aesthetics of early Romanticism, Anglo-German cultural relations and perceptions of the Orient.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2017

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