- Search Spoilations
This institution also provides a list of works with incomplete provenance during the period 1933-1945.
Director – Christopher Brown
Tel: 01865 278006
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION
I. Archaeology of Europe, Near East, and Egypt
II. Ethnographical materials from New World
III. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, glass, furniture, silver, musical instruments, and textiles from the Middle Ages to the present day, including Italian Renaissance paintings and drawings, English art of the 18th and 19th centuries, Russian art of the 19th and early 20th centuries, modern British print making, European ceramics, and Renaissance bronzes.
IV. Ancient, medieval, and modern coins of all countries.
V. Art and archaeology of China, Japan, Korea, South-East Asia, Nepal, India, and Islam.
VI. Casts of Greek and Roman statuary.
1. OVERALL PLANS
INITIAL FOCUS OF RESEARCH
The Department of Western Art
British paintings and Continental European paintings, drawings and sculpture deemed the principal category likely to contain items of suspect provenance, have been checked. A list of those with provenance gaps between the years 1933 and 1945 is on this website.
TIMESCALE FOR RESEARCH
AREAS OF THE COLLECTION CONSIDERED A LOWER PRIORITY AND WHY
English watercolours and drawings, in view of the rarity of these in Continental Jewish collections between 1933 and 1945.
Initial research in the following areas does not indicate any works that are likely to have been looted, but research is continuing into incomplete provenances.
A. The Coin Room Collections
By their very nature, coins present special problems, as they are almost never unique. The Keeper of Coins has reviewed accessions since 1933. He has found no evidence in the documentation available to him that there are provenances that warrant further investigation at this stage.
B. The Oriental Collections
This is the "youngest" department in the Museum. Available documentation has been searched and so far no evidence has been found to indicate definitely suspect sources within the terms of this inquiry.
C. The Archaeological Collections
We have completed the audit of the Department of Antiquities collections that were accessioned between the years 1933-1945. Initial checks have not so far identified any objects that warrant further investigation at this stage. There are, however, several objects for which we have incomplete provenances although it is unlikely that they would have been spoliated. We shall pursue inquiries into these specific cases and into other acquisitions since 1945.
2. RESEARCH PLANNED IN TARGET AREAS
METHOD OF RESEARCH
Investigation of provenance is part of the normal, ongoing scholarly activity of all Departments and this website will be developed and expanded to reflect this. Future areas where provenance research will be a priority include Continental ceramics.
3. INFORMATION ON MAKING GENERAL ENQUIRIES ABOUT COLLECTIONS
By telephone, preferably to the Departmental Office:
Antiquities: 01865 278020/023
Coin Room: 01865 278058
Eastern Art: 01865 278067
Western Art: 01865 278042
Cast Gallery: 01865 278079
General: 01865 278000/3
ARCHIVES OF THE ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM
There is no central museum archive, apart from administrative papers dating from 1972 to the present. Archives relating to the early history of the Ashmolean are kept in the Department of Antiquities. Archives relating to the collections are otherwise divided between the Department of Antiquities, the Department of Western Art, The Department of Eastern Art, the Heberden Coin Room, and the Cast Gallery. These consist of object documentation files, departmental exhibition records, loans in, photographic orders, accounts, and acquisition registers. In addition, the museum houses a number of specialized archival collections of which the most important are as follows:
Department of Antiquities
The archaeological archives of Arthur and John Evans and J.L. Myres
The Allen and Riley collections of aerial photographs
Department of Western Art
The Pissarro archive of letters and papers relating to Camille Pissarro and his family.
These archives are available for consultation by appointment, although in some instances access to confidential donor information is restricted. The museum has no archivist and researchers wishing to consult any archival material in the museum are advised to contact the keeper in the relevant department.
PRESS OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS
Claire Parris, Press Officer Tel: 01865 278178