The study of provenance—the history of the creation and ownership of an artefact, work of art, or specimen—provides insights into the history of taste and collecting, illuminating the social, economic, and historic trends in which an object was created and collected. It is as much a history of people as it is of objects, and its study often reveals intricate networks of relationships, patterns of activity and motivations.
This book promotes the study of the history of collecting and collections in all their variety through the lens of provenance, and explores the subject as a cross-disciplinary activity. Perhaps for the first time in a publication, it draws on expertise ranging from art history and anthropology, to natural history and law, looking at periods from antiquity through the 18th century and the Holocaust era to the present, and materials from Europe and the Americas to China and the Pacific. The issues raised are wide-ranging, touching on aspects of authenticity, cultural meaning and material transformation and economic and commercial drivers, as well as collector and object biography.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers