"The Pleasures of Antiquity" by I. Jonathan Scott

The Pleasures of Antiquity British Collections of Greece of Rome I. Jonathan Scott

Publication date:
10 Jun 2003
Paul Mellon Centre
348 pages: 254 x 190mm
180 b-w + 24 color illus.


By the nineteenth century, connoisseurs from the British Isles had assembled the richest collections of classical antiquities outside Rome. The galleries they created to house the spectacular Greek and Roman statues, ornaments, vases, bronzes, and gems were in many instances designed to be as magnificent as the artworks themselves. This delightful book examines how the great British antiquities collections were put together and displayed, from Lord Arundel’s collection of marbles in the seventeenth century to the Grand Tour acquisitions of the eighteenth century and the greatest art acquisition of all time, that of the Elgin Marbles from the Acropolis.

In this book, the first comprehensive history of the collecting of antiquities in Great Britain, Jonathan Scott gives portraits of the principal collectors, describes the mechanics of the art trade and collecting, and takes us to beautiful sculpture galleries that were created by such distinguished architects as Robert Adam and Jeffry Wyatville. With a generous selection of illustrations of the interiors of collectors’ houses, the book presents in unprecedented detail the story of private British antiquities collectors and their truly remarkable collections.

Jonathan Scott is deputy chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

?[Scott deals] with the subject comprehensively, from tentative beginnings in the seventeenth century to its decline over the past century and a half, in a very readable and well-illustrated three hundred and forty pages. . . . [An] enthralling book.??Apollo Magazine

"Scott?s handsome book should contribute significantly to many better-informed visits to the British Museum."?Robin Blake, Financial Times Magazine

"Abundantly illustrated and written with clarity and zest, this handsome book traces the passage from random collecting, to the increasingly intense accumulations available on the Grand Tour in the 18th century, to the knowledgeable collections of the 19th. . . . Authoritative and far-reaching, this work serves as a worthy companion to Adolf Michaelis?s Ancient Marbles in Great Britain on English private collections of antiquities, largely dispersed, but no longer lost to history. Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty."?Choice

?Intensely rewarding. . . . Scott?s book now brings objects and admirers together in a well-researched and deeply resonant account.??John Sweetman, Burlington Magazine

?A masterful examination of the rise and fall in taste for classical sculpture. . . . Essential and entertaining reading for those interested in the antique and in the history of taste.??Hugh Belsey, Art Newspaper