Gathering, accumulating, hoarding - just a few of the words that touch into a thought we had recently. The gathering and collecting of objects is a very personal thing. The appeal of accumulating objects to display, hideaway, trade, or sell is something we know all too well here at M&B. We have a family history, obsessions that run from hoarding to the very refined, old magazines to Irish silver. But why?
It is a unique yet surprisingly common form of consumption. The type of object that becomes a collectable is almost limitless, constrained only by the imagination of the collectors themselves. From wooden spoons to bent nails, all are valid. Our particular favourite is our creative director’s collection of broken glass and rabbit bones.
We all collect for the same basic reasons: possession and obsession, however there is a distinction to be made between collector and hoarder. Hoarding appears to have no reason, whereas a collector has a rational purpose in mind. What is so special about collections is that there is always an underlying order or system and a collector is not bound by the intrinsic worth of objects.
A collection can be personal or public. The museum, and its precursor, the cabinet of curiosity, take a scholarly approach to collecting and are curated for a broad audience. A private collection is intended to capture an individual’s view of the world. There are no rules but the common denominator amongst objects is the collecting subject, whose identity then binds these objects together in a sort of visual and material biography. It is about taking objects out of the chaos of the everyday life, placing them into a more contemplative arrangement and in doing so bringing a whole new significance to the objects.
"Our relationship with the material world of things is crucial to our lives because without them our lives could not happen, and collecting is a fundamentally significant aspect of this complex and fascinating relationship."
"Collection is an obsession organised."
This is why we love the art of collecting, the search, the exploration, the refinement of meaning. The gathering together and setting aside of selected objects allows for connections between the material world and the immaterial world of ideas, values and meaning. A collection is whatever a collector thinks it is.
A collection is more than the sum of its parts; singularly an object can be arbitrary whereas as part of a group or a collective, it becomes something special. Chosen deliberately from a range of possibilities the selection encourage questions about values. Maybe that is why we like collecting and our personal collections so much. It encourages questions and from our perspective that is a most important thing – to ask questions.
"To collect is to gather objects belonging to a particular category the collector happens to fancy … and a collection is what has been gathered."
The images featured are of:
Meander, our grandparents home.
Richard Lamb's collection of British studio pottery curated by Max Lamb
Kettle's Yard, the former home of Jim Ede and his wife Helen.
All locations are home to some of our favourite collections.