Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane

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Hans Sloane was a young doctor from Ireland who made his way in London and eventually become physician to the king and much of London society. In his youth he made a defining visit to Jamaica, where he began collecting ‘curiosities’ of all kinds. He eventually became the centre of a worldwide network which allowed him to assemble the collections which became the core of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the British Library. This is the first major biography of Sloane in 60 years. It explores not just the impact of an extraordinary man, but allows us a window onto the moment when the meaning of collections and collecting changed.

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SKU: 9780718194437 Category:

Description

Hans Sloane was the greatest collector of his time, and one of the greatest of all time. His name is familiar today through the London streets and squares named after him, but the man himself, and his achievements, are almost forgotten.

Born in the north of Ireland, Sloane made his fortune as a physician to London’s wealthiest residents. In 1687 he travelled to Jamaica, then at the heart of Britain’s commercial empire, to survey its natural history, and later organised a network of correspondents who sent him curiosities from across the world. He became one of the eighteenth century’s preeminent natural historians and assembled an astonishing collection of specimens, artefacts and oddities – the most famous curiosity cabinet of the age. Shortly after his death, Sloane’s vast collection was then acquired – as he had hoped – by the nation. It became the nucleus of the world’s first national public museum, the British Museum.

This is the first biography of Sloane in over sixty years and the first based on his surviving collections. Early modern science and collecting are shown to be global endeavours intertwined with empire and slavery but which nonetheless produced one of the great public institutions of the Enlightenment, as the cabinet of curiosities gave way to the encyclopaedic museum. Collecting the World describes this pivotal moment in the emergence of modern knowledge, and brings this totemic figure back to life.

Additional information

Weight 0.408 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 2.4 cm
Author

Publisher

Imprint

Cover

Paperback

Pages

xxxi, 503 , 24 unnumbered of plates

Language

English

Edition
Dewey

069.5092 (edition:23)

Readership

General – Trade / Code: K