7th July, 2023

Room MAL G14, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX

This one-day conference concentrates on the ways in which objects in collections are added, exchanged or disposed of, translated and transformed. Items can be moved to new surroundings and different decorative settings, resulting altered contexts of display, meaning and significance. This conference thus aims to explore the various issues underlying the mutability of collections:

  • the ways in which intentionality, taste and the periodically fluctuating finances of collectors influenced the composition and display of a collection, sometimes more than once within a collection’s biography;
  • the ways in which fashion may have directed a collector towards particular groups of objects, as well as their alteration according to the taste of the time;
  • the ways in which collections may be reinterpreted and take on new meanings according to the spaces in which they were displayed;
  • the different associations and meanings given to individual objects through their changing representations, displays or associations.


09.00 – Introduction to the day

9.15 -9.45 – Laura Moretti: Object history and museum display. The adventurous life of the Berlin Adorante

9.50-10.20 – Vincent Pham: Vernacular Veneration – Lord Chesterfield’s library portraits and their afterlives

10.25-11.05 – Lara Pitteloud:  From a Private to an Imperial Cabinet:  the various re-interpretations of the Comte de Baudoin’s collection


11.35-12.05 – Emily Monty: Prints and Books in the Dutch Fagel Collection:  Continuity and Disjuncture in the London Market around 1800

12.10-12.40 – Ludovica Scalzo Collections on display in the Braccio Nuovo:  a new Interpretation

lunch break 12.45-13.30

13.30 introduction to the afternoon session

13.35-14.05 – Hannah McIsaac: Dutch Botanical Gardens:  Visual Representation and the Impermanence of Collections

14.20-14.40 – Michal Mencfel:  The Pulawian Relics of Unhappy Lovers, or the Poetics of Framing

14.45-15.15 – Solmaz Kive: Framing the Other:  Decorative Art at the South Kensington Museum


15.45-16.15 – Maria Silina: Re-making Soviet Collections:  Knowledge Production and Border Divisions [via Zoom link]

16.20-16.40 – Renata Komiƈ Marn: “Sammlung Attems”: the identity of the collection in its Changing Contexts

16.40 – 17.00 closing discussion

Conference fees

Booking fee, including lunch, tea & coffee                                                £42

Booking fee for students                                                                              £25

Conference dinner on Friday evening (to be paid on the evening)          £30

Zoom only                                                                                                      £15

To book please go to:

Or contact in case of difficulties


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