Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The trade in rare books in Switzerland in the first half of the nineteenth century : Sir Thomas Phillipps's purchases and their dispersal
Author: Rais, Angeline
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 9132
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the changing values assigned to books and shows why some items are now considered as part of the world's cultural heritage. Using a methodology based on the reading of archives, the use of dealers' and library catalogues, and the books' material analysis, my research provides an in-depth study of the trade in rare books in Switzerland in the first half of the nineteenth century. To explore this topic, largely neglected by modern scholarship, I investigate the purchases of 259 manuscripts and almost 600 printed books by Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) during his stay in Switzerland in 1822-23 and their dispersal after his death. My thesis argues that the Swiss book-trade was a sophisticated business in which professional and amateur dealers efficiently sold rare and new printed books, as well as medieval and modern manuscripts, in bookshops, auction rooms, private houses, and religious institutions. Besides, Phillipps's motives for obtaining these items, as well as those of their subsequent owners clearly indicate that books were acquired and sold for a variety of reasons and highly viewed for their aesthetic, financial, historical, literary, political, religious, and scholarly quality. After a first part focusing on Phillipps's sojourn and his occupations (Chapter 1), I investigate the dispersal of rare books in Switzerland between 1700 and 1850 to show that he took part in a well organised business (Chapter 2). Then, I examine how Phillipps obtained books from professional booksellers, private and religious owners (Chapter 3), explain why he selected particular items and how he integrated them into his library (Chapter 4). The last part concentrates on the dispersal of the books in the twentieth century (Chapter 5). The conclusion gathers the main arguments, indicates new potential studies, and demonstrates that books as objects are relevant sources for bibliographical and historical research and provide valuable insights into a society's attitude to its past, present, and future.
Supervisor: Woudhuysen, Henry ; Dondi, Cristina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available