Lovers of vintage watches and rare, antiquated timepieces would do well to find themselves in Cambridge, England, sometime between March 24 and September 6, 2015, as there is a muchanticipated exhibition coming to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Treasured Possessions from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment will be a major show at showcasing hand-crafted objects and precious family heirlooms from the ‘dawn of the disposable age’.
The exhibition has been co-curated by Dr Victoria Avery of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and Dr Melissa Calaresu, Dr Mary Laven and Professor Ulinka Rublack from the History Faculty of the University of Cambridge. Dr Laven commented, “Today, we spend half our lives shopping, and many of our acquisitions end up on the scrap-heap or boxed away in a garage or attic. Before industrial mass production, purchasing took much more skill and effort, and was often the result of complex negotiations between maker and shopper. The most significant things in life were not bought and sold off the shelf, but were handcrafted in homes and workshops, customised for their owners. Acquisition was an art.”
Amidst myriad other fascinating objects, a number of pocket-watches will be displayed, including a distinctive silver pocket-watch shaped like a skull. There will be much more than horological treasures to admire, and the show promises to be a visual adventure through the decorative arts. Dr Laven added, “Today we live in a world of disposable objects, and yearn for things that are hand-crafted, organic and unique. Now a show of ‘treasured possessions’ from the 15th to the 18th centuries reveals how we first fell in love with shopping, and takes us back to an age when our belongings were made by hand and passed down through the generations.”
The Fitzwilliam Museum will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2016, and over 80 per cent of the objects in the exhibition are taken from its reserves, meaning visitors will be able to see some of the Fitzwilliam’s least-known treasures for the first time.