“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” (Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes, 1919)
What is assembled here might look like a modern ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, an assemblage of the exotic and curious from the four quarters of the world. There is an intention behind it, however, that goes beyond presenting a wide variety of curiosities. We are today linked up to all those four quarters, and while a huge amount of information is available to us, unlike to those who awaited the ships in the ports of Amsterdam, Genoa, Lisbon, London, Marseille, Seville or Venice, the horizon of what interests us seems to have shrunk. The art market is an interesting barometer of this shrinkage. The point is, therefore, that we can connect with the whole world on a much more profound level than can be gained from package touring, through the possession of, and study of even the most modest objects of different cultures. The purpose of collecting, as Moliere might have put it, should not be limited to becoming rich through the investment in one’s purchases, but to become enriched through the possession of what one has acquired.
The considerable bibliography involved in the composition of this catalogue has not been included because of concerns that it would make an already fat catalogue obese. It is available to anyone interested, as well as precise references for many of the pieces described.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed”. – Albert Einstein