Writing back to Willie : collecting curiosity
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by V Keenan
This paper considers the role of collected objects within the parameters of a larger PhD study. Observations from theoretical and personal perspectives will inform and form the ‘bric a brac’ of this paper, accumulating within a conceptual ‘cabinet of curiosities’. In order to expose some of the complexities and ambiguities that both allow and disallow a fuller understanding of the role that objects have in reflecting and representing culture, this collection of words, concepts and artifacts developed for my own ‘cabinet of curiosities’, will contrast and compare aspects of theoretical commentary situating material objects within cultural contexts of the past and present. Inspired by a collection of hand written letters, this study reflects my developing interest in the role of material culture, ‘object/s’ and object collections in late 19th century and contemporary culture. The letters were penned by a late nineteenth-century Queensland grazier, my great uncle, Will Henry (1896-1906), while he lived and worked on Queensland cattle properties. Will died of typhoid in 1907 at the age of 30.