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Robert Hillenbrand


Islamic dynasty that ruled from several capitals in Iraq between ad 749 and 1258. The Abbasids traced their descent from al-‛Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, and were thus able to claim a legitimacy that their predecessors had lacked (see Umayyad, §1). The Abbasids rose to power in north-east Iran by channelling disaffection with Umayyad rule, but they soon established their capitals in a more central location, founding Baghdad in 762. Although they initially encouraged the support of Shi‛ites, the Abbasids quickly distanced themselves from their erstwhile allies to become champions of orthodoxy. Upon accession, each caliph adopted an honorific title, somewhat like a regnal name, by which he was later known. For the first two centuries, the Abbasids’ power was pre-eminent, and their names were invoked from the Atlantic to western Central Asia. From the middle of the 10th century, however, real power was transferred to a succession of Persian and Turkish dynasts (...


Abbey, John Roland  

Jacqueline Colliss Harvey

(b Brighton, Nov 23, 1894; d London, Dec 24, 1969).

English collector. Educated privately, he was commissioned to the Rifle Brigade in 1914. He was invalided home in November 1916 and made a director in his family’s brewing firm. He began his book collection in 1929, at first with an interest in modern bindings. In 1931 he commissioned Sybil Pye and R. de Coverley and Sons to produce a binding to his own design for Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer. Consistently stressing the importance of appearance and condition, Abbey began buying antiquarian books in 1933 and manuscripts (of which he ultimately owned 143) in 1946, with advice from Sydney Cockerell. After World War II he had the largest private collection of his time, including 1914 18th- and 19th-century books of watercolour prints.

Auctions of his collection were held between 1965 and 1967 (buyers included Paul Mellon and the Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart) and, after his death, between 1970 and 1975...



Abdul-Medjid Effendi  

Turkish, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 29 May 1868, in Constantinople (now Istanbul); died 23 August 1944, in Paris.

Painter and collector. Portraits, genre scenes, landscapes.

Abdul-Medjid was the son of Sultan Abdülaziz, and later Crown Prince of the Ottoman Empire and Caliph. He was taught painting by Fausto Zonaro, an Italian artist who worked in the Ottoman court ...


Çigdem Kafesçioglu and Walter B. Denny



Abrams, Harry N(athan)  

A. Deirdre Robson

(b London, Dec 8, 1904; d New York, Nov 25, 1979).

American publisher and collector. He trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York before working in publishing. In 1950 he set up his own publishing company, Harry N. Abrams Inc., one of the first American companies to specialize in art books. In 1968 he founded Abbeville Books. His collecting, which began in the mid-1930s, went through three distinct phases: his first interest was in such contemporary American painters as Milton Avery and Raphael Soyer. He continued to purchase such works into the 1950s, but from the mid-1940s his collecting began to be dominated by works by major 20th-century artists; he acquired, among other works, Marc Chagall’s Clock (1948), Pablo Picasso’s Motherhood (1921) and Georges Rouault’s Miserere (1939).

Abrams’s most notable period as a collector was the 1960s, when he became known as a major collector of new American art. His interest in this area was fuelled by the ...


Ackerman, Phyllis  

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...


Ackermann, Rudolph  

John Ford


(b Stollberg, Saxony, April 20, 1764; d Finchley, London, March 30, 1834).

English publisher and patron of German birth. He trained as a carriage designer in Paris and moved to England between 1783 and 1786. He established his own business as a carriage maker, undertaking major commissions in London and Dublin. In 1804 he designed Pius VII’s carriage for the coronation of Napoleon and in 1805 the funeral carriage of Horatio, Viscount Nelson. By 1800 Ackermann had built up a unique business at 101 The Strand, London, known as ‘The Repository of Arts’. This encompassed a drawing school with 80 pupils, the sale and loan of Old Master paintings and watercolour drawings, the publication of decorative prints and illustrated books and the manufacture of watercolour paints including a number of new chemical pigments.

In the early 19th century, Ackermann was an important and regular patron of English watercolour painters, employing William Henry Pyne, Augustus Charles Pugin, Thomas Heaphy, Frederick Mackenzie (1787–1854...


Acquaviva d’Aragona, Andrea Matteo III, Duca d’Atri  

Giovanna Cassese

(b Conversano, Puglia, Jan 1458; d Conversano, Jan 9, 1529).

Italian patron. He was the son of Giulio, Duca d’Atri (d 1481), and Caterina Orsini, Contessa di Conversano (Apulia), a cousin of Queen Isabella of Castile; in 1477 he married Isabella Piccolomini of Aragon (d 1504). His extensive territories included much of the Abruzzo and Apulia, and through his second marriage to Caterina della Ratta, Contessa di Caserta, he gained lands in Campania, Lucania and Calabria. Andrea Matteo led a tumultuous political and military career, alternately supporting the Aragonese and the Angevins and losing and regaining his lands several times. From 1505, however, he settled in Naples, devoting himself increasingly to cultural activities. He was one of the most important humanist princes in southern Italy, and a member of Giovanni Pontano’s Neapolitan academy; Pontano (1422–1503) dedicated his De magnanimitate to the Duca, whom he saw as the incarnation of Renaissance man, while Paolo Giovio praised him as ‘...


Adams, Tate  

(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, Jan 26, 1922).

Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, ...


Addis, Sir John M(ansfield)  

Margaret Medley

(b London, June 11, 1914; d Pembury, Kent, July 31, 1983).

English diplomat, collector and art historian. In 1947, as a member of the British Diplomatic Service, he was posted to Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, then the capital of the Nationalist Chinese government. He became interested in Chinese art and history and began a collection of porcelain, furniture and textiles at a time of political and economic uncertainty, when Chinese collectors were forced to sell. When he moved to the British embassy in Beijing in 1954 he continued his research into Chinese ceramic history with the help of specialists from the Palace Museum. In 1963 he became British ambassador to the Philippines and was largely responsible for organizing the Manila Trade Pottery Seminar (1968), to which he also contributed five of the nine discussion monographs. From 1972 to 1974, as British ambassador to China, he played an important part in promoting the Chinese archaeological exhibition The Genius of China, held in London at the Royal Academy in ...


Aders, Carl  

Kathryn Bonomi

(b Elberfeld, nr Wuppertal, 1780; d Italy, before July 10, 1846).

German merchant and collector. He played a key role in the introduction of early Netherlandish art to British writers and artists during the reign of George IV. In 1806, Aders and an Englishman, William Jameson, co-founded a counting house—sources suggest it was an accounting firm serving the shipping industry—in Elberfeld, Germany. Business often called him to the commercial centres of Europe, and in the 1810s he began to frequent art dealers and to make purchases. His only adviser in this appears to have been his fiancée (later his wife), Elizabeth Smith, whom he met c. 1816. She was the daughter of the mezzotint engraver John Raphael Smith and was herself an amateur artist.

Aders bought prints and paintings of the Italian and Dutch schools, but the core of his collection was early Netherlandish painting. Few northern artists were known at the time, and little attempt had been made by scholars to sort out and identify various oeuvres. Art dealers attached a few recognizable names, such as Dürer, van Eyck and Memling, to almost any work that came into their possession, and many of Aders’s paintings were falsely attributed to these artists. His collection, mainly purchased by the mid-1820s, was divided between his London house in Euston Square and a summer retreat in Godesberg, Germany. Alexander Gilchrist described the London establishment: ‘The walls of drawing-room, bedroom, and even staircase, were all closely covered; with gallery railings in front to protect the pictures from injury.’...


‛Adil Shahi family  

R. Nath, Sheila S. Blair, and Jonathan M. Bloom

[‛Ādil Shāhī]

Dynasty that ruled portions of southern India from 1489 to 1686. Its founder, Yusuf ‛Adil Shah (reg 1489–1509), had come to India from Persia and was appointed governor of Bijapur under the Bahmani family rulers. He declared his independence when that dynasty declined. Yusuf had a prolonged conflict with the Portuguese, who were able to secure Goa in 1510. The ‛Adil Shahis and their rival states in the Deccan formed a series of alliances and counter-alliances in the struggle for hegemony. For example, in 1543 a confederacy of Ahmadnagar, Golconda and Vijayanagara attacked the ‛Adil Shahi capital Bijapur, but Ibrahim ‛Adil Shah (reg 1534–57) maintained control. His successor ‛Ali ‛Adil Shah (reg 1557–79) joined an alliance that destroyed Vijayanagara in 1565. ‛Ali ‛Adil Shah was an enlightened prince who built a large number of public works, including the Jami‛ Mosque at Bijapur. The dynasty reached its zenith under ...


Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester  

Janet Backhouse

[Æthelwold; Ethelwold]

(b Winchester, c. ad 908; d Beddington, Surrey, 1 Aug 984; fd 1 Aug). Anglo-Saxon saint, Church leader, reformer and patron. With Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (reg 959–88), and Oswald, Archbishop of York (reg 972–92), he was the moving spirit behind the English monastic revival of the late 10th century.

Aethelwold’s career began at the court of King Athelstan (reg 924–39). After ordination he joined Dunstan’s reformed monastic community at Glastonbury. About 954 he established his own monastic house at Abingdon. According to later tradition, he was a skilled worker in metals and personally contributed to the embellishment of the abbey church. Appointed Bishop of Winchester in 963, he introduced reformed communities into both Old and New Minsters and established a regular monastic life in several other centres, notably Ely, Peterborough and Thorney. He was an enthusiastic patron: the masterpiece of the Winchester School of illumination, the ...



Russian, 19th century, male.

Active between 1809 and 1826 in Moscow.

Engraver (line-engraving).

This artist belonged to the school of the Moscow printer and collector P.P. Beketov. Under the direction of J. Rosanov, N.Z. Sokolov and A.J. Ossipov, Afanasiev engraved a series of three hundred portraits of famous Russians, published in three volumes between ...


Africa: Art libraries and photographic collections  

Janet L. Stanley

The study of African art history has roots in the older field of cultural anthropology, which is primarily concerned with material culture rather than art. Most of the literature before 1960 falls into this category, and even today African art research still draws extensively on ethnography, history and archaeology (see also Africa: Art and aesthetics, §1). Serious study of the subject, therefore, remains dependent on libraries with strong collections in these fields.

Museums of ethnography, which were concerned with material culture and had colonial connections, sprang up in Europe during the late 19th century (see Africa: Museums). They built library collections to support curatorial research and often also served as repositories for photographs, manuscripts and other official records. These institutions, such as the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin, the British Museum, London, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, the Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika, Tervuren, and the Musée de l'Homme, Paris, grew into significant research collections that remain only partially tapped. Although many are underfunded and their libraries are not being actively developed, their historical material makes them a critical group of repositories. In the United States libraries and photo-archives with extensive African material were developed by such institutions as the ...


Africa: Collectors and dealers  

revised by Lin Vivian Barton

The earliest private collections of African art were those of European royalty and nobility, whose cabinets of curiosities preserved exotica brought back from overseas travels. The 19th century was marked by the acquisition of ethnographic objects either as scientific specimens, war trophies, or curiosities, which found their way into museum collections. Early dealers in ethnographic objects and curios, such as W. D. Webster in Oxford or William O. Oldman in London, sold what would today be called art.

African art as a category of objets d'art has been defined largely by collectors, dealers, critics, and artists, whose tastes and preferences restricted it almost exclusively to figural sculpture and masks. Modern collecting began in Paris in the early 20th century, with sculptures from the French colonies. Dan/Wobé masks, Baule and Fang figures, Mpongwe white-faced masks, and Kota reliquaries began turning up in studios of artists and other Left Bank cognoscenti and in the few art galleries that catered for collectors. Negrophilism in Paris in the 1920s fuelled this passion for ...


Africa: Exhibitions  

Amy Powell

Issues of display have been central to the study of African art since the 16th century, when African objects entered European collections as gifts and curiosities (see also Africa: Collectors and dealers). Since that time, African art has been exhibited in private collections, world’s fairs, regional colonial expositions, galleries, and public municipal and national museums. In each case, exhibiting institutions produce knowledge about Africa through their modes of display, which in museums concern what types of works to collect (whether to privilege sculpture or also include utilitarian objects like textiles and beadwork, for example), how to group works to demonstrate aesthetic similarities and shared cultural histories, and the degree to which didactic text aids interpretation, lighting, and installation design. Many individual works of African art existed in performance or specific environments such as masquerade, royal procession, or vernacular architecture. As a result, one major question confronting institutions displaying African art is whether and how to reflect a work’s original use and its maker’s intentions. Ethnographic approaches, for instance, may include descriptive text and supporting materials in an effort to reconstruct a work’s cultural contexts. From the early 20th century, museums and galleries in the United States displayed African art as art, an approach that emphasizes form while also valuing selective connoisseurship to determine a work’s originality and art historical significance (e.g. exhibitions at Alfred Stieglitz’s Gallery 291 and Marius de Zayas’s Modern Gallery in New York in ...


Agar-Ellis, George James Welbore, 1st Baron Dover  

David Blayney Brown and R. Windsor Liscombe

(b London, Jan 14, 1797; d London, July 10, 1833).

English collector and patron. He was obviously a kinsman of Welbore Agar Ellis, but the exact relationship has not been established. Elected to Parliament in 1818, he rose in the ranks of the Whig party until ill health forced his retirement. Guided by Sir George Beaumont, whom he met in 1821, he was instrumental in the establishment of a purpose-built National Gallery in London and subsequently he served as a trustee of the National Gallery and of the British Museum. He was a friend of Thomas Lawrence, whose portrait of him (New Haven, CT, Yale Cent. Brit. A.) was exhibited at the British Gallery in 1833.

Agar-Ellis’s own collection was dominated by the works of contemporary British painters and included John Jackson’s portrait of John Flaxman, but it also featured Francesco Guardi’s Gondola on a Lake near Mestre and Caprice (both London, N.G.), a portrait then supposed to be by ...