A Catalogue of the Portland Museum, lately the property of the Duchess Dowager of Portland, deceased: which will be sold by auction…. PORTLAND MUSEUM, Auctioneers SKINNER AND CO.

A Catalogue of the Portland Museum…
A Catalogue of the Portland Museum, lately the property of the Duchess Dowager of Portland, deceased: which will be sold by auction…

London: Skinner and Co., 1786.

Quarto; engraved frontispiece not present (as is the case with some copies), contemporary half sheep.

Hawaiian feather cloaks and tapa

An unsophisticated copy of this rare auction catalogue, of particular interest to Australia and the Pacific for its many hundreds of natural history lots, including the enormous and important collection of shells, catalogued for the auctioneer by Banks's protégé Solander. Many of the specimens had been brought back on the Cook voyages from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Great Tahitian and Hawaiian rarities, including large pieces of Tapa, feather cloaks and helmets, and the like, are listed and described in the catalogue.

An unsophisticated copy of this rare auction catalogue, of particular interest to Australia and the Pacific for its many hundreds of natural history lots, including the enormous and important collection of shells, catalogued for the auctioneer by Banks's protégé Solander. Many of the specimens had been brought back on the Cook voyages from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Great Tahitian and Hawaiian rarities, including large pieces of Tapa, feather cloaks and helmets, and the like, are listed and described in the catalogue.

This is the auction catalogue for the dispersal of the collection of natural history specimens gathered by Margaret Cavendish Bentwick, second Duchess of Portland, which was "considered the finest in England and rivalled the best in Europe" (Dance Shell Collecting, An Illustrated History). The Duchess was a patron of Captain Cook, friend of Rousseau and Reynolds, and a colleague of Daniel Solander. Through years of intrepid collecting her magnificent home, Bulstrode House in Buckinghamshire, became her museum.

Bulstrode or 'The Hive' as it was known is court circles, was a place of great activity, a place not only for the display of Margaret's collection but where she and her team of botanists, entomologists and ornithologists worked. Scores of people would visit, from scholars, philosophers and scientists to Royalty. The Portland Museum was legendary; a place of delights where the ancient and the living were arranged side by side and where people came to be amazed at nature captured in its full diversity.

The catalogue was drawn up her chaplain and (long-time) librarian the Reverend John Lightfoot, with specialist assistance from others including Solander who described the cabinet of shells.

Chalmers-Hunt, 'Natural History Auctions 1700-1972', p. 62; Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography, 116.

Condition Report: Some offsetting and foxing, binding worn at extremities.

Price (AUD): $3,850.00

US$2,824.13   Other currencies

Ref: #3403138

Condition Report