Acquisition of both collections by decade

When were objects from the second collection acquired by Pitt-Rivers?

Acquisition by decade for both collections

Pitt-Rivers began acquiring items for the second collection (that are listed in the catalogue now held by Cambridge University Library) shortly after he inherited a large estate in Cranborne Chase and a healthy income in 1880. The first item listed is dated 1881. The first item listed with a full date is Add.9455vol1_p2 /2, a coin issued by the London Corresponding Society, dated 11 February 1882. Pitt-Rivers continued to add to this collection until his death on 4 May 1900.

Here is the pattern of how his items were acquired in each decade, a separate page gives the acquisitions by year. Note that this information has been compiled using the 'Date Given' field in the research project database, based upon the dates given for each entry. In some cases these are misleading and do not refer to the actual date of acquisition but for the most part that is what they seem to indicate.

1850-1880 (founding collection) = 17758*

Artefacts known to have been acquired by Pitt-Rivers 1880-1884 but part of the founding collection =  1848**

1880s = 8810 ***

1890s = 9296 ***

No items are clearly dated to 1900.

If you assume that Pitt-Rivers acquired objects principally in the 1860s and 1870s (looking at the items acquired before 1880), as we know he did, and split the total figure for 1850-1879 between the three decades as

1850s estimate of 3758

1860s estimate of 7000

1870s estimate of 7000

then it makes the larger acquisitions post 1880 much clearer. Unfortunately most items in the founding collection do not have a given acquisition date, and most do not contain sufficient information to be able to work out when it was so that is why this figure has to be estimated. It is known that the majority of the items were acquired by 1878.


AP, 3 June 2010


* Note that the first figure is calculated by taking away the number of objects thought to have been acquired for the founding collection from 1880-1884 from the total number of objects known to be in that collection now. This cannot be an accurate figure, but it gives an order of magnitude.

** This figure has been found by searching for items that are definitely dated as being acquired by Pitt-Rivers from 1880 to 1884. However, many objects are confusingly dated, or not dated at all so this figure can only be regarded as an estimate. The breakdown per year is estimated to be 1880 629 + 1881 1138 + 1882 50 + 1883 20 + 1884 (or 1880=1884 but not dated) 11. The most dubious numbers are those for 1880 and 1881.

*** These figures are obtained by searching for the decade in the 'Date Given' field of the research database

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