Influences on Pitt Rivers: other people's methods of classification

Christy and Franks


Extract from W. Chapman's Like a Game of Dominoes: Pitt Rivers and the Typological Museum Idea
(p145 - 146)

Henry Christy's collection ... was arranged strictly on the basis of geographical origin, as had been proposed by the first truly systematic champion of ethnographical or ethnological collections, Phillip Franz Balthazar von Siebold (1796 - 1866), whose own argument for a geographical system in the 1830s and 1840s had been widely published and known, including by Pitt Rivers who referred to a number of Siebold's publications. Christy's collection, which was housed in his apartment on Victoria Street, had been bequeathed to the nation upon his death in 1865 and was administered after that date by the British Museum's Department of British and Medieval Antiquities and Ethnography and more specifically by Pitt Rivers' acquaintance, Wollaston Franks. Franks, in fact, paid for the cost of the custodian, Charles Hercules Read (1857 - 1929), later the curator of the ethnographical collections, out of his own pocket. Pitt Rivers was familiar with the collection both before and after Christy's death, even contributing a number of pieces to the collection over the years; Christy, it will be remembered, had also been one of Pitt Rivers' sponsors at the Society of Antiquarians and was probably the main collector of ethnographical objects in Britain at the time - and, incidentally, a frequent bidder at many of the same auctions Pitt Rivers had attended. Overall Pitt Rivers tended to contrast his system to that of Christy, arguing that Christy had adopted a more conventional system. Still, Christy had a number of series similar to those of Pitt Rivers and had also been intent upon drawing similar connections between ethnographical and archaeological materials. ...

Gustav Klemm: Extract from W. Chapman's Like a Game of Dominoes

'... the German antiquarian Gustav Klemm, who had begun to collect ethnographical and archaeological pieces in the 1830s. Klemm's collection was organised typologically; drawing parallels between archaeological and ethnographic pieces, it was intended to demonstrate a sequence of development in technology ... His scheme had been published in Werkzeuge und Waffen (1858), which was widely referred to by ethnologists and antiquarians in the 1850s and 1860s ... Pitt Rivers himself cited Klemm's writings frequently, and took illustrations from them to supplement his own series ...

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