Through both longer essays and shorter case studies, this book examines the relationship of European women from various countries and backgrounds to collecting, in order to explore the social practices and material and visual cultures of collecting in eighteenth-century Europe.

It recovers their lives and examines their interests, their methodologies, and their collections and objects—some of which have rarely been studied before. The book also considers women’s role as producers, that is, creators of objects that were collected. Detailed examination of the artefacts—both visually, and in relation to their historical contexts—exposes new ways of thinking about collecting in relation to the arts and sciences in eighteenth-century Europe. The book is interdisciplinary in its makeup and brings together scholars from a wide range of fields.

It will be of interest to those working in art history, material and visual culture, history of collecting, history of science, literary studies, women’s studies, gender studies, and art conservation.

chapter |17 pages

Introduction: Women and the Cultures of Collecting

ByArlene Leis, Kacie L. Wills

part I|39 pages

Artificialia and Naturalia

chapter 1|18 pages

Science, Gender and Collecting

The Dutch Eighteenth-Century Ladies’ Society for Physical Sciences of Middelburg
ByAnne Harbers, Andrea Gáldy

chapter 2|4 pages

Between Art and Science

Portraits of Citrus Fruit for Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici
ByIrina Schmiedel

chapter 3|15 pages

Anne Vallayer-Coster’s Still Life With Sea Shells and Coral

ByKelsey Brosnan

part II|68 pages

Travel, Borders, and Networks

chapter 4|17 pages

Maria Sibylla Merian

A Woman’s Pioneering Work in Entomology
ByKatharina Schmidt-Loske

chapter 5|15 pages

Sarah Sophia Banks’s Coin Collection

Female Networks of Exchange
ByErica Y. Hayes, Kacie L. Wills

chapter 6|15 pages

Conversing With Collecting the World

Elite Female Sociability and Learning Through Objects in the Age of Enlightenment
ByLizzie Rogers

chapter 7|3 pages

Portrait of Charlotte de France

From Naples to Sicily, a Collection in Transit
ByMaria Antonietta Spadaro

chapter 8|16 pages

The Collecting Activity of Catherine II in Eighteenth-Century Russia

Pioneering Action or Sheer Demonstration of Power?
ByCharis Ch. Avlonitou

part III|27 pages

Displaying, Recording, and Cataloguing

chapter 9|16 pages

‘I Made Memorandums’

Mary Hamilton, Sociability, and Antiquarianism in the Eighteenth-Century Collection
ByMadeleine Pelling

chapter 10|3 pages

Eleanor Coade, John Soane, and the Coade Caryatid

ByNicole Cochrane

chapter 11|3 pages

Anne Wagner’s Album (1795–1805)

Collecting Feminine Friendship
ByRyna Ordynat

chapter 12|3 pages

An Art Cabinet in Miniature

The Dollhouse of Petronella Oortman
ByHanneke Grootenboer

part IV|32 pages

Beyond the Eighteenth Century

chapter 13|15 pages

Collection, Display, and Conservation

The Print Room at Castletown House
ByAnna Frances O’Regan