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Title: Edward Daniel Clarke (1769-1822) and the collecting of classical antiquities
Author: Edgar, K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis describes the collecting activities of Clarke, travel writer and Professor of Mineralogy. It argues that disciplinary changes led to failure to understand Clarke's activities. By attempting to understand him his proper intellectual context rather than dismissing him as eccentric, we attain a fuller comprehension of the history of collecting and archaeology. The first chapter examines Clarke's education, challenging the usefulness of the standard biography by William Otter. Otter's text is constrained by the teleological conventions of biography into presenting Clarke's early life as prefiguring his later achievements. Despite the mathematical curriculum of late eighteenth century Cambridge, the university afforded opportunities to pursue antiquarian activity. Clarke also travelled as a private tutor; thus the Grand Tour served a generally overlooked function in enabling the educated but impoverished to travel. The second and third chapters examine Clarke's 1799-1802 travels. Clarke's collecting of antiquities was part of a wider collecting project including botanical and mineralogical material and non-physical data. Returning Clarke's collecting to its original context helps dispel the myth of collectors as "mere" treasure hunters. Clarke's attacks on Lord Elgin did not express hostility to all collecting, but invoked a supra-national ideal of collecting as rescue of valuable material for the benefit of mankind. The fourth chapter examines Clarke's Eleusinian "Ceres" and the collection of marbles displayed in the Cambridge University library. It analyses successive accounts of the acquisition of the statue, showing how facts are altered to suit rhetorical purposes; greater circumspection is needed in using travel accounts as sources for collecting. The identification of the piece has been wrongly represented as a story of smooth progress. The chapter explores and contextualises Clarke's decision not to restore the statue and reconstructs the display of the collection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available