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2003 articles 2003 articles

Sir Frederic Madden and the Battle of the Brass Rubbings

C. J. Wright (notes)

Abstract

In 1844, brass-rubbings made by Lewis Pryce Madden in the west of England were acquired for the British Museum at the behest of his brother Sir Frederic Madden, Keeper of Manuscripts. No record of them survives in the current catalogues of either the British Museum or the British Library. The search for them uncovers the story of how the Museum's collection of brass-rubbings was assembled in the nineteenth century and how the collection became a battleground between the competing Departments of Manuscripts and Prints & Drawings. It also casts light on the theory and practice of brass-rubbing in the first half of the nineteenth century, as well discussing the problems posed to scholarly institutions in housing the rubbings which artists and antiquarians were producing in such large numbers.

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