Women Patrons and Collectors
In looking at the history of collecting, one may be excused for regarding it as an activity in which, traditionally, women have shown little interest or in which they have not been involved.As the present volume shows, women-particularly aristocratic women-not only resisted this discrimination through the ages, but also built important collections and used them to their own advantage, in order to make statements about their lineage, power, cultural heritage or religious preferences. That is not to say that there was not an increasing number of middle-class women who became draughtswomen, painters and natural scientists and who found it equally beneficial for their chosen profession to collect. In every case, the female collector chose to collect and what to collect, she chose how and where to present the collection and she also decided when to dispose of objects, thereby occasionally taking on a curatorial role.Women have been seen as gatherers of furnishings, jewellery, dress and objects of domestic life. This third volume in the Collecting & Display series of conference proceedings challenges such perceptions through the detailed analysis of different types of collecting by women from the early modern period onwards, it thus seeks to give a voice to a group of important female collectors from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century whose importance for the history of collecting has not yet, or not sufficiently, been acknowledged.
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