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Oxford Chronicle and Berks and Bucks Gazette 

5 February 1887

'University Intelligence ... The annexe recently added to the University Galleries will afford space for the growing collection of casts and for the proper exhibition of the Arundel marbles. Our collection at the better-ordered Ashmolean Museum has been enriched by choice bronzes and terra-cottas, a loan from the rich stores of Mr Fortnum. The laborious work of arranging the Pitt-Rivers collection in its new home is all but finished, and Dr Tylor begins the term with a course of lectures intended to illustrate its contents.' [NB there is correspondence Tylor / Pitt Rivers around this time about this, see other research notes]

25 April 1891:

'University Intelligence ... The Pitt-Rivers Museum - General Pitt-Rivers Hon D.C.L. will deliver a public lecture in the Theatre of the University Museum on Thursday the 30th inst. on "The Original Collection of the Pitt-Rivers Museum; the Principles of Arrangement and History".'

9 May 1891

'University Intelligence ... On Thursday April 30th General Lane Fox-Pitt-Rivers gave an interesting lecture at the museum on the history of the formation of the collection which he presented to the University in 1884, and for the subsequent rearrangement of which in accordance with his views he expressed an obligation, first to Professor Moseley, and the Professor Taylor [sic], the Keeper of the museum, as to Mr Balfour. The museum as illustrating the historical development of tools and instruments may be regarded as unique. The lecturer described how the development of the rifle had first called for his attention professionally, and how he had followed up the same method of inquiry with other weapons, from the celt onwards, with musical instruments, pottery, boatbuilding and the like. The lecture was illustrated by elaborate diagrams, one of which analysed Dr Schliemann's famous owl-faced Athene with the gradual degeneration of the human figure. The General took the opportunity of expressing his regret that no collection had been made as yet to illustrate the development of the art of shipbuilding. His lecture was an interesting comment upon the collection which he has so liberally bestowed, and of which the development has been carried out in so spirited a manner by the University.'

Oxford Times

12 February 1887 [I have ordered a print of this, it will take a while to arrive but when it does I will check it with following]

the notice is a re-print [attributed] of the 'London' Times account of 7 February 1887

7 February 1887 page 4 column A

'The Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford

The collection of objects presented to the University of Oxford by General Pitt-Rivers has now been partially arranged, and is thrown open to visitors in the large and convenient hall which has been erected for it by the University. To these objects have been added many others transferred from other University museums, such as the Ashmolean, together with numerous donations from other sources. The  Ashmolean Museum has thus been enabled to become a scientific collection with a specific character, instead of a mere gathering of relics and rarities. The Pitt-Rives collection belongs to the department under the charge of Professor Moseley, F.R.S., who is superintending its arrangement on the lines laid down by its founder. The essential quality of the museum lies even more in its arrangement than in the value and beauty of the objects exhibited, great as these may be. It is not a cabinet of curiosities but a school of development, in which series of objects are set in order to teach the lesson of how they came to be. The manner in which the collection itself came into existence was this. Many years ago, when the British Army was giving up the Tower musket for the new rifle, Colonel Lane Fox (who has since taken up the surname of Pitt-Rivers) was officially engaged in inquiries as to the most efficient forms of guns, and was thus brought to see that these are not invented suddenly and all of a piece, but arise by successive partial alterations, whose history is soon forgotten as they are absorbed in the general course of progress. Struck by this practical point, he set to collecting weapons of all ages and all nations, and soon satisfied himself that the principle of gradual development, suggested step by step by what had preceded, runs through their whole history from the rudest stages, and pervades in like manner the whole history of civilization. Thus was started his vast museum illustrative of the stages of human arts and ideas, which soon outgrew the dimensions of a private house, and, after some years finding a temporary home in the exhibition buildings of Bethnal-green and South Kensington, has now, in a much expanded state, been presented to the University of Oxford, who have built for it the spacious and well-lighted annexe opening out from the main court of the University Museum.

The importance of the collection as a teaching instrument, framing for the student new and rational ideas of culture-history, impresses itself at once on the spectator's mind. At one end are cases of musical instruments, showing their first rude beginnings leading up to their highest forms. The strung bow of the hunter, in which in South Africa a calabash is fixed as a resonator, shows the primary form to which all the stringed instruments of the orchestra may be traced back. Looking at the intermediate stages, we see, for example, how the harp of ancient Egypt and modern Burmah is but a great bow still. So the hollowed log, struck on its resonating lip by the festive Fijian, led on to the bell, which in its early form is clapperless, and which in Japan may still be seen of wood. Passing on to the next group of cases, a series of models, from the rudest "dug-out" of the savage to the three-decker of the Trafalgar period, displays the successive lines of development on to modern navigation. Each class of boat has its history - the Esquimaux skin canoe and the Ojibwa bark canoe (both familiar to the visitor to Oxford from their imitations paddled on the river), the coracle belonging alike to the rivers of ancient Babylon and modern Wales, the galleys which were Mediterranean war craft from the ages of the Pharoahs till Lord Exmouth bombarded Algiers. Parts of the modern ship, such as the masthead and the forecastle, have their original types depicted in the tombs of Egypt from the vessels that floated on the Nile. Among the most instructive of General Pitt Rivers's series is one which early engaged his attention, relating to the development of the shield. If asked the question how the Roman soldier came to ensconce himself behind his huge buckler, one would be apt to take it as a matter of course that a shield was always intended as a screen. But the real course of human invention, as shown by the facts, does not always correspond with probable guesses, and it is here seen that the defence of the rude Australian or African was no screen, but a narrow weapon, little more than a parrying-stick, grasped in the middle, wherewith, my mere dexterity of fence, he held himself unharmed against a shower of spears. The parrying-shield lasted on into modern civilized warfare, represented even by the Highland target, whose value as a defence was due to its bearer's quick eye and ready hand. Thus it appears that the use of the shield as a shelter did not belong to its first purpose, but was due to special development of an earlier and nobler weapon. To go through the endless trains of reasoning of this kind illustrated in this one museum court would be to attempt prematurely a descriptive catalogue. But we cannot pass unnoticed a remarkable instance of the mode in which conservative ceremonial rites have preserved the traces of ancient low culture. Close by the Fire series, where sticks, with their charred points and holes, show the savage mode of kindling fire by friction of wood, there stands a sacred fire-drill, still used in India by the priest to 'churn' the sacrificial fire - a rude, archaic instrument, kept up by Hindoos from the remote ages, when their ruder Vedic ancestors had this as their ordinary means of kindling the fire of the domestic hearth. Nor is it the industrial arts alone whose rise and progress can thus be followed by the aid of series of specimens. The history of ornamental art shows itself especially amenable to the same treatment as in those brought together by General Pitt-Rivers to show how the figures of men and animals may, by successive stages of breaking down, pass into mere decorative patterns, or how the net or basket originally fitted on to the gourd or earthern pot has, when discontinued, left behind it an ornamental pattern drawn on the vessel it would once have really supported. Among the Cyprus pottery (part of the famous Cesnola collections) such history is apparent in the patterns derived from memory of former rush bands or concentric rings, which were suggested by the lathe-marks left on turned wooden vessels. In short wherever the visitor turns he finds what he used to set down to arbitrary fancy, to spontaneous genius, is really some particular stage in the course of growth or development sprung plainly and intelligibly from the stage behind it, and ready to serve in its turn as the starting-ground for new ideas and inventions to come.'

[Frances Larson suggests this is written by Balfour, it might have been though presumably on behalf of the University rather than commissioned by the Times but there is no proof that this is so, neither the Times nor the Oxford Times signs the piece. I dont know what she based this supposition on, but another candidate must be Tylor given the somewhat florid style, the bit about it outgrowing the house is echoed in Tylor's DNB entry for Pitt Rivers. AP]

2 May 1891 short notice about Pitt Rivers lecture, no details except name, title of lecture and time.

Transcribed by AP during the Relational Museum project, from copies held by the Westgate Centre Oxfordshire Libraries.

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