Conference Scope

Collecting through Connections

Glass and Stained-glass Collectors and their Networks in the 19th century

4th-6th February 2015 | Lisbon, Portugal

The Conference

The aim of this conference is to develop knowledge about the art market for historical glass and stained glass during the 19th century, the contacts and network of collectors, the criteria for collecting and the use/display of the objects within the collector's domestic space. We welcome abstracts which answer to one (or more) of the following questions:

Why collect? The 19th century occupies pride of place within the studies on collecting practices. The connection between collecting and the construction of personal and national identity or the formation of historical conscience has been receiving growing attention from scholars. This conference will aim at looking at the role of stained glass and glass in this problematic. In brief, papers may address the cultural, social, political and, even, economical motifs for collecting glass in the 19th century.

Who gathers?   Many of the most important glass and stained glass collections currently existing in Europe were assembled during the 19th century. These collections are usually known due to the quality or rarity of their objects. In fact, the study of the latter has been the priority focus of scholars and museums. Despite some important contributions, little is yet understood about the acquisition conditions of glass and stained glass objects in the 19th century. Therefore, papers should focus on collectors and their personal relationships. Social background, cultural interests, family contacts (correspondence) and the foundation of historical associations are some of the issues to be discussed.

Where to buy?   Archival research and some important studies during the past few years have been able to disclose the identity of many of 19th century curiosity dealers. Nevertheless, the links between provider, dealer and consumer for the glass market is yet to be studied. How the dealer obtains his objects and how the consumer materializes the purchase are questions demanding an answer. Papers may focus on the identification of dealers and agents as well as on the supply chain for historical glass.

Which provenance?   Despite being an intricate task, tracing the course of objects since production until incorporation is fundamental to the interpretation of the collection and of the objects themselves. In fact, production context and historical reception can only be fully analysed if provenance is acknowledged. Papers may address techniques and methods to identify the original provenance of objects, from chemical analysis to archival research.

What to assemble?   Diversity is common to most of 19th century collections of glass and stained glass, but what are exactly the criteria for the acquisition of objects? What are the collectors’ preferences? Case studies are particularly welcomed.

How to display?   Like Asian porcelain in early modern age, glass seems to be a material to be displayed in very specific spaces. The Glass Cabinet in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen, is a well-known example of such purpose built displays. During the 19th century, Glass Rooms (or Cabinets) and Rittersaale were widely built within the domestic space, but not necessarily due to the same motifs. We are looking for papers which focus on the ideas behind these displays.

Call for Abstracts

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia and Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua are pleased to announce the international conference Collecting through Connections. Glass and Stained Glass Collectors and their Networks in the 19th Century, which will be held in Lisbon from the 4th to the 6th of February of 2015. For this conference, we invite abstracts focusing on 19th century collecting practices for glass and stained glass. Selected papers will be published before the conference.


Final papers will be published in time for the conference.


Submit your abstract to:

Extended call: 1st February.