Lecture: Dr Lewis Ryder – ‘The Extraordinary Ordinary Collector: John Hilditch and his Challenge to Museum Experts in 1920s Britain’ (online, 30 Mar 2021, 17:30 BST)

The University of Edinburgh Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster (chaired by Professor Frances Fowle and MaryKate Cleary) invites you a lecture and talk with Dr Lewis Ryder (University of Manchester) on John Hilditch (1872-1930) who, in the 1920s, was the most esteemed collector of Chinese art in the world. At least that was what he claimed.

Born into a working-class family in the North West, Hilditch rose up the social ladder and amassed an extensive Chinese art collection. For over fifteen years he was embroiled in a highly public dispute with experts at Manchester City Art Gallery and the British and Victoria and Albert Museums over the authenticity and value of his collection.

This talk focuses on Hilditch’s posturing as an elite collector to explore how ‘ordinary’ Britons conceptualized and experienced art collecting, and examine how far the democratisation of collecting disrupted orthodox social and cultural hierarchies.

Dr Lewis Ryder is a social and cultural historian of Modern Britain with expertise in the history of collecting, the politics of cultural life and selfhood. Lewis currently teaches on the undergraduate History programme at the University of Manchester. His PhD, completed in November 2020, examined the contest for cultural authority in early twentieth-century Britain through the case study of Chinese art collector John Hilditch. 

This event is hosted by the University of Edinburgh Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster. The interdisciplinary Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster welcomes all those interested in collecting, the art market and related issues. The cluster provides a forum for discussion and presentation through holding regular seminars, workshops and talks by invited speakers, as well as Edinburgh-based researchers – both students and staff, and from disciplines as diverse as art history, business and sociology. Individuals have the opportunity to present their latest findings to a specialist audience in a relaxed environment.

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/university-of-edinburgh-collecting-and-art-market-research-cluster-tickets-133865841335

Please note this session will be hosted via Zoom. Once you have registered, you will receive a link/login details to join the session. Please note that by registering you agree to being recorded.

To learn more about the Collecting and Art Market Research Clusteror to read about future events, please visit:

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