William Stenhouse spoke at the Seminar in Cultural History on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. His talk was entitled “Conserving Relics of the Classical Past: Civic Bodies and the Preservation of Antiquities in the Renaissance.”

Stenhouse’s talk at the BGC examined the emergence of civic collections of antiquities in the early modern period. He argued that these collections on the Italian peninsula and in southern France have been overlooked in favor of the famous princely collections from the period, but offer important early evidence for communal commitment to the protection of the past. They build on medieval traditions of collection and display, but also reflect new humanist interest in classical antiquity and its preservation. Additionally, Stenhouse briefly addressed the question of how the creators of these collections talked about preservation and conservation.

William Stenhouse is Associate Professor of History at Yeshiva University in New York City. He received his BA in Classics from University of Oxford, his MA from the Warburg Institute, University of London, and his PhD from University College London. He has published extensively on antiquarianism and the Renaissance. His recent article-length publications include “Visualizing the Roman Triumph: Descriptio and the Antiquarian Imagination,” Papers of the British School at Rome 80 (2012): 233-256; “Epigraphy and Technology: The Impact of the Printing Press,” in Latin on Stone: Epigraphic Research and Electronic Archives, Francisca Feraudi-Gruénais, ed. (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2010), pp. 23-44; and “Antiquarians and the Preservation of Antiquity Collections,” in Collecting and Dynastic Ambition, Susan Bracken, Andrea M. Gáldy, and Adriana Turpin, eds. (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), pp. 23-36. His book-length publications include Reading Inscriptions and Writing Ancient History: Historical Scholarship in the Late Renaissance (London: Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 2005) and The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Catalogue raisonné, Volume A.VII: Ancient Inscriptions (London: Harvey Miller/The Royal Collection Trust, 2002).