Collecting Central Europe  
  The History of Collecting of Central and Eastern Europe  

Head of the youthful Christ with long hair looking downwards to l; after Dürer, 1598 Engraving
© The Trustees of the British Museum

Programme 2023

25 July

workshop: Collecting Drawings and Other Works on Paper with presentations by Eliška Zlatohlávková, Borbála Gulyás and Olenka Horbatsch

Three ten-minute presentations followed by discussion

Eliška Zlatohlávková

The Collection of Drawings of the Clary-Aldringen Family

The contribution will present one of the most important collections of Lombard Renaissance and Mannerist drawings kept since the second half of the seventeenth century in the Lands of Bohemian crown. In total about 200 drawings were glued onto sheets of papers and bound into two volumes. The contribution will introduce the content of both volumes and will mainly focus on the provenance and fate of this extraordinary collection that
was in the possession of the Clary-Aldringen family from North Bohemia until 1945.

Eliška Zlatohlávková studied Art History at the Department of Art History of Charles University, Prague. She gained her PhD with a theses on the iconography of Rudolf II before starting to work at Studia Rudolphina, the Research Centre for Visual Arts and Culture in the Age of Rudolf II. Currently, she works as scientific researcher at Palacký University Olomouc and Charles University in Prague. Her main research concerns art at the court of Rudolf II, spaces for art collections (studiolo, kunstkammer) and princely collections of the early modern era. She is co-author of the monograph From Studiolo to Gallery, Secular Spaces for Collections in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown on the Threshold of the Early Modern Era and has written several articles dealing with collection spaces and collecting in the early modern era.

Borbála Gulyás
Calligraphic Manuscripts and Kunstkammern: George Bocskay’s Large-Format Writing Model Book in Ambras

The Hungarian calligrapher George Bocskay (d. 1575) prepared three writing model books for Emperors and Hungarian Kings Ferdinand I and Maximilian II of Habsburg between 1561 and 1573 in Vienna. In addition to his two small-format manuscripts, which were later decorated with miniatures by the Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel for Emperor Rudolf II in the 1590s and very likely displayed in the Prague Kunstkammer. Bocskay dedicated a large-format volume to Ferdinand I in 1562 that showed up in the inventory of the Ambras Kunstkammer of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol in 1596. The unique manuscript was displayed in Case No. 8 that exclusively contained the collection’s book-style rarities (manuscripts, prints and similar curiosities).
Borbála Gulyás is an art historian and Research Fellow of the Institute of Art History at the
Research Centre for the Humanities (formerly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Budapest, Hungary. She is currently the Head of the Archives of the Institute. She received her PhD from the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest in 2013 for her thesis on the art and life of George Bocskay. Recently, she published her monograph on the artist (The Art of the Calligrapher George Bocskay, Budapest, 2023; Bocskay György kalligráfus művészete, Budapest, 2020). She is also an editor of a new Festschrift (Reneszánsz és barokk Magyarországon. Művészettörténeti tanulmányok Galavics Géza tiszteletére. Renaissance and
Baroque in Hungary. Studies in Art History in Honor of Géza Galavics
, Budapest, 2021). She has a particular interest in manuscripts, prints and their collecting and in court culture and festivities of the early modern period. Website:

Olenka Horbatsch

The Status of Prints at the Court of Rudolf II

Printmaking at the court of emperor Rudolf II represents the apogee of engraving as an art form. The emperor patronized expansive print projects, and appointed Aegidius II Sadeler (c. 1568-1625) as the first-ever imperial engraver. Sadeler introduced new techniques, formats, and subjects into his ambitious prints. Hendrick Goltzius and Jan Muller, who were based in the Netherlands and worked after designs from Prague by Rudolf’s court artists, brought new refinement to the art of engraving by using swelling lines to convey volume. Prints produced in and for Prague combined technical
innovations (both in terms of scale and complexity) with a new self-conscious interest in the history of printmaking in Europe, centered on the work of Albrecht Dürer. This paper investigates the status of prints in Rudolfine Prague, from technical and art theoretical perspectives, and queries the role of prints in the emperor’s collection.
Olenka Horbatsch is (since 2017) Curator of Dutch & Flemish Prints and Drawings at The British Museum. She received her Ph.D. in 2017 from the University of Toronto with a dissertation on Lucas van Leyden and his contemporaries. She has curated
exhibitions and displays on Martin Luther’s legacy in print (2017), Rembrandt’s prints and drawings (2019) and Printmaking in Prague under Rudolf II (2021). She is working on a publication to share the results of research undertaken for the Prague exhibition.
She is also working on a research and catalogue project on early Netherlandish drawings in the British Museum’s collection. Her work has appeared in the Rijksmuseum Bulletin and in edited volumes published by Brepols, Routledge and British Museum

24 October

Joanna Ciemińska, Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Palamusto

Lecture followed by discussion

The 'Chinese rooms' of Augustus of Saxe-Gotha-
Altenburg in Gotha and Stanisław Kostka Potocki in Wilanów in c.1800

This lecture will present a comparative reading of two Central European 'Chinese' rooms
from c.1800: the Chinese Cabinet of Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1772‒1822) in Friedenstein Palace in Gotha and the Chinese Apartment of Count Stanisław Kostka Potocki I (1755‒1821) in Wilanów Palace in Warsaw. Both are both early nineteenth-century examples of museum-style courtly settings dedicated to the presentation and study of a variety of Asian objects in a proto art historical approach, open to a selected
audience. Both collections were partly constituted through important acquisitions on foreign art markets and inspired by English examples in their overall conception. Their original conception is well
documented but they were redesigned in the later nineteenth century. I will examine how the collections came into being, as well as their aims, composition, ways of display, socio-cultural functioning (e.g., networks of providers and visitors) and means of producing knowledge about East Asia. The focus will be placed on the interactions of space with the various types of objects, including lacquerworks, stoneware, ivories, porcelain, paintings, furniture, textiles and ethnographica. This emphasis will help to understand the tensions between an almost three-centuries old tradition of courtly display of Asian objects and the newly emerging changes in art consumption entailed by the recent shift of paradigm, i.e., the emergence of the state museum and crystallisation of history of art and Asian studies as independent disciplines.
Joanna Ciemińska holds a B.A. and M.A. in History of Art and French Philology from the University of Warsaw. She is currently a PhD candidate in History of Art at Universidade Nova in Lisbon and is writing a dissertation on the practices of collecting and display of Asian porcelain and lacquer in early modern courtly spaces across Europe. Her doctoral work is part of the European Training Network PALAMUSTO, funded by EU Horizon 2020,
which aims to write a new thematic history of the early modern European palace, focusing on the phenomena of cultural exchange. Her interests are centred on collecting, consumption, spaces of display and gift giving of non-European goods in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.