Jousting cheque for a contest at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520. This was originally an armorial roll showing those who attended this famous meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King François I of France. It had however been adapted to cre
The Society of Antiquaries accredited museum collections comprise more than 45,000 objects across two sites - Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire) - and its library is the largest antiquarian library in the country. The Society loans to exhibitions around the world, and also hosts its own exhibitions and tours.
The collection at Burlington House consists of objects collected by the Society, alongside material associated with the Society’s history. The collections are pre-eminent for studying the history of collecting, together with the discipline of archaeology and related antiquarian studies in Britain and other countries. Today the museum collections form a key resource for research and public access, and although a small collection, it includes objects of national and international importance.
Since 1962 the Society has owned and cared for Kelmscott Manor and its estate – the Cotswolds retreat of William Morris (a Fellow of the Society), his family, friends and colleagues. The collections represent arts and crafts produced or collected by the Manor’s residents, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Jane and May Morris, as well as historic furnishings that were in the house when Morris became a tenant there. When Morris first saw the Manor in 1871, he was delighted by this 'loveliest haunt of ancient peace' and it was to become a life-long source of inspiration to him.
The library dates to its foundation in the early 18th century and holds around 130,000 printed titles dating from the 16th century to the present day, in addition to an important collection of just over 1,000 manuscripts with the earliest example dated to the 10th century. The manuscripts relate especially to antiquities, British history and heraldry, and includes important items such as the Winton Domesday and the inventory of Henry VIII.
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