Entry as a Privilege

  • Kenneth Hudson


In 1784, William Hutton, a Birmingham bookseller, visited the British Museum. It had not been easy to obtain one of the rare and much sought-after entrance tickets, but eventually he came across a man who was willing to part with his for two shillings, and he was able to turn his thoughts to the pleasures ahead.

Here [he was certain] I shall regale the mind for two hours upon striking objects; objects which ever change and ever please. I shall see what is no where else to be seen. The wonders of creation are deposited in this vast cabinet. Every country upon the globe has, perhaps, paid its richest tribute into this grand treasury. The sea has unlocked its stores. The internal parts of the earth have been robbed of their spoils. The most extraordinary productions of art find their way into this repository, and the long ages of antiquity have largely contributed to the store.1


Eighteenth Century Social History British Museum Private Collection Public Museum 
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  1. 18.
    Quoted by William T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England, 1700–99 (1928) pp. 174–5.Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Niels von Holst, Creators, Collectors and Connoisseurs (1967) p. 183.Google Scholar
  3. 24.
    William T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England, 1700–99, Vol. 1 (1928) p. 28.Google Scholar
  4. 25.
    See John Steegman, The Rule of Taste from George Ito George IV (1936) p. 107.Google Scholar

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© Kenneth Hudson 1975

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  • Kenneth Hudson

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