By O.M. Dalton
Frank McClean (1837-1904) used to be not just a civil engineer, astronomer and pioneer of goal prism spectrography, but in addition an comprehensive and systematic collector of old and medieval artwork. McClean's collections, that have been left to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, on his demise, have been at the moment the main striking bequest because the Museum's beginning. They incorporated illuminated manuscripts, early revealed books, and the traditional and medieval ornamental gadgets defined during this catalogue. The medieval utilized arts specifically have been of mammoth worth to the Museum's holdings, together with tremendous infrequent goods no longer hitherto represented there. This catalogue, ready in 1911-12 by way of O. M. Dalton, assistant keeper of British and medieval antiquities on the British Museum, lists over a hundred and forty goods: ivory carvings, enamels, jewelry, gemstones and a smaller variety of chinese language, jap and Egyptian gadgets.
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Additional resources for Fitzwilliam Museum McClean Bequest: Catalogue of the Mediaeval Ivories, Enamels, Jewellery, Gems and Miscellaneous Objects bequeathed to the Museum by Frank McClean, M.A., F.R.S.
In these cases we find the ivory carvers reproducing a plastic model. But it has already been remarked that although they would naturally prefer to copy a relief, they must often have been influenced by pictorial art3. The history of ivory carving shows a sufficiency of examples in which the suggestion has come possibly from mosaics and certainly from illuminated miniatures. Some of the larger ivory panels of the sixth century are so monumental in conception that they seem translations of subjects in mosaic: a central panel from a composite diptych of the sixth century now in the British Museum, has this character4.
It fell to them to revive the sense of plastic form, and to arouse the ambition of the monastic craftsmen whose numbers were now being rapidly multiplied under the patronage of the court and the Church ; at the same time the manuscripts which had been imported with them taught a more extensive knowledge of iconography and composition. The ivories and the miniatures were the chief agents which together formed the schools of Carolingian sculpture, and the Frankish artist took advantage of both; but the influence of manuscripts became almost dangerous as soon as the ivory carvers resorted not to the Syrian illuminated books themselves, but to the Carolingian copies of their miniatures.
II ; Recherches sur la peinture en imail, pi. B, no. 6, and Handbook of the Middle Ages (translated by Mrs Palliser), p. 126 ; A. Deville, Histmre de I'ari de la verrerie, pi. ; Archaeological Jowi nal, x n , 418. 3 Found in the Thames. C. Roach Smith, Catalogue of the Museum of London A'ntiq-uities, 1854, p. 8 4 ; Rupin, L'teuvre de Limoges, p. 28; Journ. Brit. Arch. Association, in, 284; A. Riegl, Spatromische Kunstindustrie &c, p. 191. 4 Horsley's Wiltshire, p. 329; Sir R. C. Hoare, Ancient Wiltshire, II, 122; Gough's Camden, 1, pi.
Fitzwilliam Museum McClean Bequest: Catalogue of the Mediaeval Ivories, Enamels, Jewellery, Gems and Miscellaneous Objects bequeathed to the Museum by Frank McClean, M.A., F.R.S. by O.M. Dalton