Making History: Antiquaries in Britain
September 4—December 11,
Through objects collected by the Society of Antiquaries of London, the oldest independent learned society concerned with the study of the past, the exhibition traces milestones in the discovery, recording, preservation, interpretation, and communication of Britain's history. It explores beliefs current before the Society was founded in 1707 and reveals how new finds and technologies have transformed the ways scholars have written history over the past three hundred years. Assembled together are artifacts of international importance (including the Domesday Survey for Winchester and a Magna Carta from 1225), detailed records of lost buildings and objects, an outstanding collection of English royal portraits from Henry VI to Mary I, and works associated with William Morris, Fellow and founder of the English Arts and Crafts movement whose country house, Kelmscott Manor, is owned by the Society. Alongside these are loans from the celebrated collection of the Yale Center for British Art including rare books, maps, and drawings by Samuel Palmer, Edward Burne-Jones, and Augustus Welby Pugin.
The exhibition has been organized by the Society of Antiquaries of London in association with the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, and the Yale Center for British Art. It has been curated by Elisabeth Fairman, Senior Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Yale Center for British Art and Nancy Netzer, Professor of Art History and Director of the McMullen Museum, Boston College, in association with Heather Rowland, Head of Library and Collections, and Julia Dudkiewicz, Collections Manager, Society of Antiquaries of London. The exhibition has been underwritten by Boston College and the Patrons of the McMullen Museum.
Making History: Antiquaries in Britain is based on an exhibition shown in 2007 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and curated by David Gaimster, former General Secretary and Chief Executive, Bernard Nurse, former Librarian, and Julia Steele, former Collections Manager, Society of Antiquaries of London; and guest curator David Starkey.