Seminar Programme

The Institute of Historical Research at the School of Advanced Studies of the University of London hosts our seminar on Collecting & Display. The monthly seminars take place at the Institute, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU. Seminars begin at 6.00 and last approximately one hour. 

Please see the Conferences page for recent updates.

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Our seminars in 2021 will take place on Zoom.

Attributed to Robert Thorburn (1818-85) of Charlotte Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch (1811-1895) and her daughter Lady Victoria Scott (1844-1938), watercolour on ivory laid on card, Royal Collection Trust

On Monday, 11th October, at 6 p.m.

Victoria Jenner will speak on:

“I find so much to do about the house” – Lady Charlotte Anne Montagu Douglas Scott née Thynne (1811-1895) and her instrumental role in the reconstruction of Montagu House, a Victorian London Town House (1863–1939)

New Montagu House was the main London residence of Lady Charlotte Anne Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry (1811–1895) and her husband, Walter Francis Scott (1806-1884) between 1863 and 1884. It served as an entertainment venue, offering them the ability to pursue political and social manoeuvring among Court circles and elite society. Its role in the public sphere played a crucial role in fostering wider interest in the French decorative arts and the Second Empire style in Britain. However, as the ducal residence has so far been credited to her husband, Lady Charlotte Anne’s agency has been omitted from history.

This paper is a case study of the redesign, rebuilding and refurnishing of her house in Whitehall. It particularly concentrates upon the role of Lady Charlotte Anne in the design process and pays attention to her correspondence with a highly skilled network of architects, artists and craftspeople. It charts the rise of her activities from the 1830s through to the 1870s, examining her first rebuilding and refurnishing project to her last, suggesting her personal evolution from a fashion-conscious consumer to a connoisseur and tastemaker. It additionally seeks to uncover her unknown friendship with Lady Cecil Kerr and opens up another line of enquiry regarding her role in the Tractarian movement in Scotland.

Finally, the paper will draw upon untapped archival material from the Buccleuch Living Heritage Archive and bring together previously unseen correspondence with understudied designs, plans and photographs from a range of sources. This micro-study aims to challenge ideas about how female patrons fitted into the existing architectural historiography of the Victorian period and explores how issues of patronage, acquisition and display were deployed for political, social and philanthropic purposes.

Victoria Jenner is a recent postgraduate of the Wallace Collection and University of Buckingham Masters programme in Historic Interiors, receiving Distinction and an academic award for ‘Best Performance’. She has previously worked at Waddesdon Manor and is currently leading the digitisation of Colnaghi’s Archive in London. Victoria has recently been awarded the status of Outreach Fellow for the University of Exeter and additionally volunteers for the Society for the History of Collecting.

On Monday, 8th November, at 6 p.m. Francesca S. Croce will speak on:

Collecting Baroque in America: Masterpieces from the Croce Collection

Scientist Carlo M. Croce (b. 1944) bought his first painting at the age of 12. Since then, driven by a fervent passion for discovery, he has amassed the largest private collection of Italian Baroque paintings in the United States. The first part of the presentation addresses his thought processes, objectives and challenges as a collector. The second explores some of the collection’s most famous works—from a Lanfranco formerly in the collection of Taddeo Barberini, to one of the largest drawings by Guercino. Lastly, it also touches on a few of the collection’s lesser known but nonetheless captivating works, which serve as current focus of the collector’s research.

Francesca S. Croce is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Vienna, under the supervision of Professor Sebastian Schütze, where she specializes in late Seicento Roman art and art criticism. Her research focuses on the influence of Raphael on seventeenth century biographer Giovan Pietro Bellori and artist Carlo Maratti. She holds a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she wrote her dissertation “Out of the Darkness: Constructing the Seicento Myth of Annibale Carracci”, and bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia University.


On 6th December, at 6 p.m. Hadas Kedar will speak on:

THE ART OF FREE-PORTISM: A DISAPPEARING ACT

Tax-free, offshore storage facilities storing art and other valuables are a thought-provoking phenomenon. It spotlights a small number of wealthy people who are considerably influential, exposing how they are involved and participate (whether consciously or unconsciously) in the “food chain” of the art market.

‘Freeportism’ or ‘Duty-Free Art’ has a bearing on the conceptual aspect of the art field, inviting a renewed look at movements and trends. On the one hand, the artistic object of our present era may be perceived as the protagonist of a world-wide scandal; on the other, it can be regarded as a stimulator for the discussion on the aesthetic and ethical aspects of art, and as a catalyst for discussion of contemporary relations between art and economy.

Hadas Kedar is a cultural entrepreneur and researcher in the field of curatorship and is currently a doctoral candidate at the joint program of the University of Reading and ZHDK. Kedar explores culture in areas distant from dominant cultural centers, focusing on curatorial and artistic acts that deal with colonized cultures in the Negev desert. Kedar founded and curated Arad Art and Architecture residency program and Arad Contemporary Art Center in the south-east Negev desert. She was the editor of EXTREME, an OnCurating issue (2021) dealing with cultures developing from the margins of the globe and the author of South as State of Mind: A Warm Wind from the South in Western Art (2021) in Theory and Criticism (Van Leer Institute). Kedar has been a faculty member of Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev since 2020.

We look forward to “seeing” you on Zoom then.