CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Early Modern merchants as collectors

Research Conference: 15 June - 16 June 2012

Information from the conference website, 24 April 2012


In 1615, Vincenzo Scamozzi highlighted the importance in Venice of the merchant-collectors Bartolomeo dalla Nave and Daniel Nijs by including descriptions of their collections in his L’Idea della architettura universale. Scholarship has also moved beyond the consideration of the artist and the patron as the principal protagonists in the history of collecting. As a result, merchants are now being regarded by historians as influential collectors in their own right.

With the 1985 publication of The Origin of Museums, a collection of conference papers edited by Oliver Impey and Arthur MacGregor, the Ashmolean Museum became established as a leading institution for research in the history of collecting. Recently re-opened with innovative galleries displaying objects exploring the theme ‘Crossing Cultures Crossing Time’, the new Ashmolean now affords an opportunity to re-visit the 1985 conference topic and not only to update but also to expand it into this fresh area of research and debate. This interdisciplinary conference will explore early modern merchants as collectors across a wide range of geographical regions and collecting categories, investigating whether there are any patterns connecting these merchant-collectors of the early modern period and what theoretical frameworks can be applied to them.


The conference is being organised by Dr. Christina Anderson, Honorary Research Fellow at the Ashmolean Museum. For the full list of speakers and abstracts of their papers, please click here.

Registration will begin on the first day at 9:00 in the Common Room of the History Faculty, Old Boys’ High School, George Street, Oxford. The conference itself will start at 10:00 in the Headley Lecture Theatre of the Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street, Oxford. The conference will finish on the second day by 16:00 the latest.

Reserving a Place

For the two-day conference, the fee for attendance is £85 (full) or £60 (student). There is no single-day fee. The fee includes lunch and refreshments both days.

Delegates are very welcome to join the speakers for an informal meal on the Friday evening for an additional fee of £20, including both food and drinks.

To register, please follow the link to the Oxford Stores website where you can make your payment and indicate any dietary restrictions: