More Than Souvenirs

Lady Annie Brassey’s Curated Collections

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  • 1 University of Cambridge
  • | 2 Hastings Museum
  • | 3 Independent scholar
  • | 4 Bexhill Museum

Lady Annie Brassey (1839–1887) was a well-known Victorian travel writer who was also a collector, photographer, ethnographer, zoologist, and botanist and who traveled around the world aboard the privately owned yacht the Sunbeam. During these voyages she amassed a collection of approximately six thousand objects. Much more than tourist souvenirs, the collection shows a rigorous academic understanding of the disciplines she was collecting within. The ethnographic material, which makes up one-third of the collection, has gained little attention. Using her travel writing as a primary source, this article will interrogate Brassey’s role as the maker of this collection, someone whose class allowed her to travel and to pursue museum collection, curation, and education to a near-professional level. Through three case studies this article will consider how she collected and curated her own museum and used her collection for public benefit.


The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing


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