The Cobbe Cabinet of Curiosities


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An Anglo-Irish Country House Museum

Edited by Arthur MacGregor

View Inside Format: Hardcover with Slipcase
Price: $95.00
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This lavishly produced volume presents a survey and analysis of a fascinating cabinet of curiosities established around 1750 by the Cobbe family in Ireland and added to over a period of 100 years. Although such collections were common in British country houses during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Cobbe museum, still largely intact and housed in its original cabinets, now forms a unique survivor of this type of private collection from the Age of Enlightenment.
A detailed catalogue of the objects and specimens is accompanied by beautiful, specially commissioned photographs that showcase the cabinet’s component elements. Reproductions of portraits from the extensive collection of the Cobbe family bring immediacy to the narrative by illustrating the personalities involved in the collection’s development. Scholars contribute commentary on the significance of the objects to their collectors; also included are essays outlining, among other topics, the place of the cabinet of curiosities in Enlightenment society and the history of the Cobbe family. Extracts from the extensive family archive place the collection in its social context. 

Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Arthur MacGregor is a former senior assistant keeper in the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

‘In its capacious presentation and microscopic scholarship applied without distinction to works of art [and] ephemera, it echoes the intellectual curiosity about the world and simple delight in the unusual that led to the museum’s creation.’—William Laffan, World of Interiors.

“The singularity of the book lies in the weight and breadth of specialist scholarship which has been marshalled”—Dora Thornton,  Art Newspaper

Cobbe Cabinet is an extraordinary production. . . . It is a very convenient way to explore eighteenth-century Anglophone encyclopedic material approaches to globalized knowledge.”—Lee Morrissey, South Carolina Review
ISBN: 9780300204353
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
496 pages, 9 3/4 x 12
200 color + 100 b/w illus.