Exhibiting and Auctioning Yuanmingyuan ("Summer Palace") Loot in 1860s and 1870s London: The Elgin and Negroni Collections

  • Louise Tythacott Pratapaditya Pal Senior Lecturer in Curating and Museology of Asian Art Department of the History of Art and Archaeology / SOAS / University of London

Abstract

This article examines the exhibitions and sales of Yuanmingyuan (or ‘Summer Palace’) loot taken from China in October 1860 by two soldiers in the Anglo-French armies – James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin (1811-1863) and Captain Jean-Louis de Negroni (b.1820). Both men displayed their collections before auctioning them – the former in the prestigious South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1862; the latter in a well known exhibitionary site, the Crystal Palace in Sydenham in 1865. Such displays and public exhibitions were used as a device for enhancing the value of collections destined for the art market. This article thus explores the inter-relationship between museum/exhibition sites and auction houses in the selling of looted objects from China’s Yuanmingyuan in 1860s and 1870s London.  

Published
2018-09-05
How to Cite
Tythacott, L. (2018). Exhibiting and Auctioning Yuanmingyuan ("Summer Palace") Loot in 1860s and 1870s London: The Elgin and Negroni Collections. Journal for Art Market Studies, 2(3). https://doi.org/10.23690/jams.v2i3.63