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To Have And To Hold: An Intimate History Of Collectors and Collecting (2003)
by Philipp Blom
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 158567561X, Paperback)From amassing sacred relics to collecting celebrity memorabilia, the impulse to hoard has gripped humankind throughout the centuries. But what is it that drives people to possess objects that have no conceivable use? To Have and To Hold is a captivating tour of collectors and their treasures from medieval times to the present, from a cabinet containing unicorn horns and a Tsar's collection of teeth to the macabre art of embalmer Dr. Frederick Ruysch, the fabled castle of William Randolph Hearst, and the truly preoccupied men who stockpile food wrappers and plastic cups. Blom's gripping narration and bizarre cast of eccentrics, visionaries, and fanatics provide a fascinating glimpse into how a pastime becomes an all consuming passion and an engrossing story of the collector as bridegroom, deliriously, obsessively happy, wed to his possessions, till death do us part.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)
"Investigating the history of collecting from the Renaissance to our day. Blom shows a multiplicity of worlds: the scientific cabinets of the fifteenth century and an Italian scholar employed as dragon slayer; the 'Ark' of the Tradescants and a friend's betrayal; Emperor Rudolf II's Prague collection as 'practised alchemy': the macabre art of Dr. Frederik Ruysch, first among embalmers; and the overflowing menagerie of Sir Hans Sloane's curiosities, later to become the foundation of the British Museum. He also discusses the strange fate of Angelo Soliman, a black man at the Habsburg court who was stuffed and exhibited with wild animals; explores the rise of scientific collecting and classification and, parallel to it, the explosion of collecting as the private passion of hundreds of thousands; and introduces Robert Opie, whose collection of half a million items of household packaging now fills his home in London and two overloaded warehouses in Gloucestershire besides." "Out of this glittering diversity of material Blom distils the themes underlying this seemingly elusive pursuit: conquest and possession, and the awareness of our own mortality."--BOOK JACKET.
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