As part of the John Marshall Archive Project, on Friday 14 November 2014, ten scholars – from Denmark, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the USA –convened at the British School at Rome for a one-day meeting on John Marshall and the antiquities trade in early 20th-century Europe.
John Marshall (1862-1928), an English intellectual and fine judge of Classical art, was official purveyor of antiquities for the Metropolitan Museum of New York from 1905 until 1928. During this period he lived in Rome and was actively involved in the life of the BSR. His collection of books and photographs were bequeathed to the Library in fulfilment of his final wishes.
The first phase of the John Marshall Archive Project – sponsored by Christian Levett and the British Academy, BASIS Strategic Development Programme, and coordinated by the British School at Rome in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum and the Sackler Library at Oxford – consisted in the collation, arrangement, cataloguing, and digitisation of all known photographs and documents belonging to John Marshall and currently held in Rome and other archives in Europe and North America. During the November meeting the research team gathered to discuss the Project’s objectives, investigate the original documents held in Rome, and consult the electronic database of the John Marshall Archive.
The Project’s next goal is to address fundamental issues in the history of art collecting and trading in the early 20th century – a period for which the John Marshall Archive is the richest and most complete documentary source. The results of this multidisciplinary investigation will be published in a book that promises to be a landmark companion to the world of antiquities collecting and trading, and of great interest to academics, collectors and museum curators.
The John Marshall Archive Workshop will officially meet again at the BSR for a one-day public conference in October 2015. By mid 2016, the database will be publicly accessible via the BSR Digital Collections website (www.bsrdigitalcollections.it).
By Guido Petruccioli (BSR Research Fellow and Project Leader of the John Marshall Archive Project)
Workshop participants: Marcello Barbanera (Rome); Beryl Barr-Sharrar (New York); Roberto Cobianchi (BSR; Messina); Stephen L. Dyson (Buffalo, NY); Sandra Gatti (Rome); Guido Guerzoni (Milan); Athena Hadji (Rhodes); Mette Moltesen (Copenhagen); Vinnie Nørskov (Aarhus); Guido Petruccioli (BSR; Rome); Alain Schnapp (Paris); Francesca de Tomasi (Rome); Susan Walker (BSR; Oxford).