‘Preserving the Monuments of Antiquity
Antiquaries, Architecture and the Construction of Knowledge in Yorkshire’
An evening at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House
Tuesday 23 May 2017 at 6.00pm
The Society of Antiquaries of London is the oldest independent learned society solely concerned with the study of the past. In December 1707, friends Humfrey Wanley, John Talman, and John Bagford established a Society dedicated to the construction and dissemination of historical and geographical knowledge through the study of antiquities and architecture. In the early days, the Society purchased two important collections of drawings previously belonging to John Talman, and Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford, and occasionally bought works of art. Since then, the Society’s holdings have grown to one of the largest collections of topographical and architectural drawings in the country, consisting of around 20,000 drawings as well as a substantial number of prints. The archive long remained one of London’s hidden treasure troves, but now researchers are analysing and interpreting the collections, acknowledging their significance to architectural and archaeological history. Architectural historian Ann-Marie Akehurst - who has been working with the collections - showcased some of the prints and drawings, and discussed how and why they – and the architecture they represented - were produced and used by Antiquaries. Focussing largely on Yorkshire, she also introduced some of the sites the SAHGB will visit in this coming September’s Annual conference that is centred in York. After her talk, participants had the opportunity to discuss some of the more esoteric pieces, and examine some of the manuscripts displayed around the Library, before partaking in nibbles and drinks.