Provenance Research Project
These pages present the results of research undertaken by the Hunt Museum on provenance, or the history of ownership, of its collection, under the direction of the Royal Irish Academy’s Hunt Museum, Evaluation Committee. The Evaluation Committee was appointed in May 2005 by the Royal Irish Academy in agreement with the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism to provide an independent oversight of the process of an investigation of the provenance of all objects in the Hunt Museum. Its members are Mr Seán Cromien, former Secretary General of the Department of Finance (Chairman); Dr Michael Ryan, MRIA, past President of the Royal Irish Academy and Director of the Chester Beatty Library (Secretary); Dr Anne Kelly, Head of the Arts Administration Programme, University College, Dublin, and Ms Helen Wechsler of the American Association of Museums. As required under the terms of reference, an internationally reputable expert in the area of art provenance, Ms Nancy Yeide of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, has been appointed to support the group in the conduct of its business. She is an expert in particular on World War II provenance research.
The goal of the Provenance Research Project is to systematically review the ownership history of objects managed by the Hunt Museum Ltd with the current focus on identifying objects that may have been improperly sold or traded during the Nazi era. The project was initiated in 2005 and is still in an elementary phase. We hope that anyone with additional information will come forward; ultimately this will help us resolve the status of objects in our collection.
Users must note that the history of ownership is not definitive or comprehensive, as it is under constant review and revision by the Hunt Museum Provenance Research Project Team. We encourage anyone with an interest in this information to visit the site regularly to stay current as research progresses and information is updated.
If you have any provenance related inquires or information, please contact director at huntmuseum.com.
The objects contained in the Hunt Collection which are managed by the Hunt Museum Ltd number 1,947 individual objects. Since May 2005 a systematic review of the provenance of the collection managed by the Hunt Museum has been ongoing, with a current focus of identifying objects that may have been sold or traded during the Nazi era.
Researching decorative arts collections is not an easy task, as, by their nature, decorative arts objects, unlike many fine art objects, are non-unique. Therefore, ascertaining information about a specific object, which may in fact be one of thousands manufactured is exceptionally difficult, if not, at times, impossible.
There are many reasons for gaps in provenance, ranging from a past owner’s desire for anonymity to an absence of records of transactions. Resolving provenance gaps for the period in question may be further complicated by the fact that records were lost or destroyed during the Second World War. Although it is probable that most of the objects with gaps do not have problematic pasts efforts are underway to obtain more information about them.
Essentially objects in the care of the Hunt Museum Ltd are classified as high priority objects or low priority objects. The criteria supporting these classifications are explained below.
High Priority Objects
Objects rated high priority are those which have a higher likelihood of having been or are known to have been on the continent of Europe during the period 1933-1945. This is a large group and has been further divided into three sub-groups: 1a, 1b and 1c.
Many of the objects rated high priority have histories of ownership that contain very little detail or have long gaps. Intensive research on these objects was begun in 2005. The project is still at an early stage. The online records displayed here are currently undergoing further research. As additional information comes to light, it will be added to the database.
- Objects which are unique and easily identifiable. This includes all fine art objects: paintings, sculpture and drawings except for those known not to have been outside Britain or Ireland in the relevant period.
- Objects of high craftsmanship which are easily identifiable, e.g. small ivory pieces, crucifix figures. Many of these are medieval objects. Some jewellery also falls into this category.
- Exceptional archaeological objects. These include Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Etruscan objects. A small number of Irish and English objects are included here.
- This group includes ceramics, armour, silver ware and jewellery together with various other objects.
- These are objects often produced in large quantities but it is still possible, although often difficult, to identify them individually.
- Objects which would be difficult to identify individually.
- Objects which are mounts or part of larger objects.
- Incomplete or broken objects.
- Very common objects. For example beads, stones.
Low Priority Objects
Objects rated low priority are those which have a lesser likelihood of having been or are known not to have been on the continent of Europe during the period 1933-1945. As is the case with the High Priority Objects, this is a large group and has been further divided into three sub-groups: 2a and 2b.
- This group contains objects which it is considered are at very low risk of having been on the continent of Europe during the period 1933-1945.
- Archaeological objects. For the most part they are rated as low priority as many objects are not unique or easily identifiable individually, e.g. arrowheads, flints, axeheads.
- A high proportion of such objects in the museum are of Irish or English origin and very unlikely to have been outside Ireland or Britain during the period in question.
- Objects made since 1945.
- Objects on loan to the Hunt Museum from lenders other than the Hunt Family.
- Objects originating from the Custom House before it was refurbished.
- Objects donated to the Hunt Museum after 1997.
The inclusion of any object on the database does not in any way demonstrate that it was looted or improperly acquired. Each object has undergone examination by the Provenance Research Project Team. It is accepted that the majority of objects still have unresolved questions regarding its history. The database will be updated as further information becomes available.
We have provided links to other websites maintained by organizations and institutions worldwide that are committed to assisting in research in this area. We welcome suggestions for additional links.
American Association of Museums: Nazi-era provenance <www.aam-us.org/museumresources/prov/index.cfm>
International Council of Museums (ICOM) <icom.museum>
National Museum Directors’ Conference (UK), Spoliation of Works of Art during the Holocaust and World War II period <nationalmuseums.org.uk>
Dutch and Flemish Art stolen by the Nazis during World War II <www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/archives/dossiers/schloss/>
Catalogue of the Musées Nationaux Récupération (France) <www.culture.gouv.fr/documentation/mnr/pres.htm>
Getty Provenance Index <piweb.getty.edu/cgi-bin/starfinder/0?path=collab.txt&id=webber&pass=webber&OK=OK>
Holocaust Era Assets: Records and research at the National Archives & Records Administration, USA www.archives.gov/research/holocaust
Project for the Documentation of Wartime Cultural Losses <docproj.loyola.edu>
The AAM Guide to Provenance Research by Nancy H. Yeide, Konstantin Akinsha, Amy L. Walsh. American Association of Museums: Washington DC, 2001. ISBN 0-931201-73-X.
Museum Policy and Procedures for Nazi-Era Issues compiled by Helen J. Wechsler, Teri Coate-Saal and John Lukavic. Professional Practice Series. AAM Technical Information Service: Washington DC, 2001. ISBN 0-931201-78-0.
A Handbook for Museum Trustees by Harold and Susan Skramstad. Published in cooperation with the Museum Trustee Association. AAM, Washington DC: 2003. ISBN 0-931201-83-7.
Museum Ethics edited by Gary Edson. Routledge, London and New York: 1997. ISBN 0-415138-11-6.
ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums – 2004 edition <icom.museum/ethics.html>
ICOM Study on the Principles, Conditions, and Means for the Restitution and Return of Cultural Property in View of Reconstituting Dispersed Heritages (1977)
UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Nov. 14, 1970. 823 UNTS 231 (1972)
UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, Jun. 24, 1995. 34 ILM 1322.
Browse the Provenance Research Database
Type/ Object Name
The terms used for Object Names are arranged according to the British Museum Object Names Thesaurus.
The terms used for Materials are mainly arranged according to the British Museum Materials Thesaurus.
Animal equipment (incl. horse spurs, hawk’s bell, and a dog-collar)
Architecture (incl. building elements (tiles, cobbles))
Arms/ armour (incl. swords, armour, arrow-heads and maceheads)
Artefact (incl. unidentified items and shards)
Childcare equipment (incl. toys, feeding vessels)
Communications equipment (incl. pens, signage, seals)
Component (incl. mounts, chapes, handles)
Container (incl. pots, jugs, plates)
Costume (incl. garments and accessories)
Culinary equipment (incl. saucepans)
Currency (incl. coins, money-boxes)
Drawings, see Visual Representation
Fire/ fire-lighting equipment (incl. match-box, brazier)
Furniture/ furnishings (incl. chest, lectern)
Games/ sporting equipment (incl. game-pieces, dice)
Hunting equipment (incl. fishing and hawking equipment)
Instrument (incl. spectacles, rule)
Lighting equipment (incl. candlesticks, chandeliers, candelabra)
Miscellaneous equipment (incl. keys, nails, breath saver)
Paintings, see Visual Representation
Performance arts (incl. jester’s marotte, bells, lute, trumpet)
Personal ornament (incl. pendants, beads, rings, bracelets, brooches)
Production/ replication (incl. moulds, maquettes, moulds)
Religious/ ritual equipment (incl. crucifixes, chalices, pyxes, rosaries, figures)
Science/ medicine (incl. drug-jars, and a mortar)
Sculpture (incl. religious and secular, figurines)
Stimulant/ narcotic equipment (incl. cups, goblets, jugs, tea-bowls, clay-pipes, snuff-boxes)
Textile (incl. tapestries, cloth, banners, orphrey)
Toilet/ cosmetic equipment (incl. chamber-pots, combs, cosmetic pots)
Tool/ implement (incl. whetstones, axeheads, cutlery, flints)
Transport/ carrier (incl. ice-skate)
Visual representation (incl. paintings, panels, plaques, drawings, tapestries)
Animal (incl. Pearl, Bone, Feather, Horn, Shell, Skin (Fish, Mammal and Reptile))
Ceramic (incl. Frit, Glazed Composition (Delftware, Faience, Maiolica), Porcelain, Pottery (Earthenware, Stoneware, Terracotta))
Fruit (incl. Nut (Coconut and Walnut))
Glass (incl. Enamel, Stained or Painted Glass)
Hydrocarbon (incl. Amber and Jet)
Ivory (incl. Elephant and Walrus ivory)
Metal (includes Alloy (Pewter, Steel), Copper, Copper alloy (Brass, Bronze, Nickel-silver), Gold, Iron, Lead, Silver, Tin)
Mineral (incl. Agate, Alabaster, Amethyst, Anhydrite, Bloodstone, Chalcedony, Chert, Clay, Coral, Diamond, Emerald, Flint, Garnet, Jade, Jadeite, Lapis Lazuli, Onyx, Porcellanite, Rock crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Sardonyx, Serpentine, Soapstone, Turquoise)
Paper (incl. Cardboard)
Resin (incl. Lacquer)
Stone (incl. Argillite (Mudstone, Pelite, Shale), Lava (Andesite, Basalt, Dolerite, Gabbro, Porphyry), Limestone (Chalk), Marble, Obsidian, Pumice, Sandstone, Slate, Tuff)
Synthetic (incl. man-made Pearls)
Textile (incl. Brocade, Brocatelle, Canvas, Cotton, Damask, Lace, Linen, Poplin, Satin, Silk, Velvet, Wool)
Wood (incl. Boxwood, Ebony, Lime wood, Oak, Pear wood, Rosewood, Walnut wood)
The following terms are not in the British Museum Materials Thesaurus:
Acrylic on paper
Black crayon and pencil on paper
Charcoal and wash on paper
Chalk, crayon and watercolour on paper
Crystal (not a preferred term in the thesaurus: if rock crystal, then Mineral – Silica – Quartz – Rock crystal)
Ink on paper
Mixed media: fabric
Oil on canvas
Oil on panel
Oil on soft-wood panels
Oil on wood
pen and ink on paper
Pen and wash
Pencil on paper
Tempera and gold leaf on wood and gesso
Tempera and gold on panel
Tempera on wood
watercolour on paper
Watercolour with pen and ink and pencil drawing on paper
Wax and ink on paper
Wax on board
Framed paintings/drawings are described thus (with qualifying words as applicable):
(frame) Metal — Gold
“(possibly)”, “(probably)” indicates uncertainty about the material
“(champlevé)”, “(diamanté)”, “(gilded)”, “(lead-glazed)”, “(salt-glazed)”, “(tin-glazed)”, “(stained / painted)”, “(stone paste)”, “(foil)”, “(cast)”, “(painted)”, “(electro-plated)”, “(sterling)”, “(polychromed)”, “(banded)”, “(lamé)”, “(Irish)”, “(pearls)”, “(lime encrusted)”, “(black)”
These words indicate techniques or provide further descriptions which are not used in the British Museum Materials Thesaurus.
Searching Provenance Information:
The easiest way to search this database is by Artist/Designer/Maker. Choose an item from the drop-down list (click on the arrow and select from list, then click on Search). If the Artist/Designer/Maker is unknown, search by Type/Object Name. Again make a selection from the drop-down list (e.g. choose Visual Representation to find paintings, drawings, etc). The Materials search works in a similar fashion. To search by owner surname or body (e.g. corporate/institutional owner), type in the relevant text box. Please note that apostrophes should be omitted from all searches, e.g. Roderic O Conor, Worlds End. Click on Reset to begin again.
Elias Adam, Augsburg Belleek Pottery Alan Boardman Aoife Boyle Bow Factory After Franz Anton Bustelli (1723-1763) Sybil Connolly (1921-1998) Bernardo Daddi (fl.1290-1348) Circle of John Downman (1750-1824) Downshire Pottery, Belfast Downshire Pottery, Belfast (attrib.) Laura Ní Eadromáin Robert Fagan (1761-1816) Andrea Fantoini (probably) John ffrench Nicolas Froment (fl. 1450-90) (attrib.) Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Johann Conrad Philipp Geiss (attrib.) Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) Workshop of Robert Goble (attrib.) Terence Gravett Henna Halolen Gavin Hogg Evie Hone (1894-1955) H. Hone; T. Nugent Workshop of Renier de Huy (d. 1150) (attrib.) Joseph Johns William Leech (1881-1968) Strickland Lowry (fl.1737-1785) (attrib.) Johann Christoph Ludwig von Lucke (attrib.) Philip Lyles Nicola Maloney Meissen Henry Moore (1898-1986) Máiread Morley John George Mulvany, RHA (c.1766-1838) Thomas O Carryd Roderic O Conor (1860-1940) Majella O Neill-Collins Susannah O Reilly Sir William Orpen RA RHA (1878-1931) ? Richard Pawlet or Daniel Reyley Lady Diana Pery Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Thomas Ryan RHA Geraldine Sadleir ? Workshop of Christian Schnulgen Schroedel of Dresden Rev. J. Turner Tymbos Workshop Workshop of Domenico da Venezia After Leonardo da Vinci Margaret Walsh B. Watson Samuel Wilder Worlds End Pottery, Delamain & Co. Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957)
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Animal equipment Architecture Arms / armour Artefact Childcare equipment Communications Component Container Costume Culinary equipment Currency Fire / fire-lighting equipment Furniture / furnishings Games / sporting equipment Hunting equipment Instrument Lighting equipment Miscellaneous equipment Performance arts Personal ornament Production / replication Religious / ritual equipment Science / medicine Sculpture Stimulant / narcotic equipment Textile Toilet / cosmetic equipment Tool / implement Transport / carrier Visual representation
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Animal Ceramic Fruit Glass Hydrocarbon Ivory Leather Metal Mineral Paper Parchment Plaster Resin Stone Synthetic Textile Wax Wood
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Owner location city/country
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Keyword in Title
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Keyword in Description
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Please note: the history of ownership is not definitive or comprehensive, as it is under constant review and revision by the Hunt Museum Ltd. The information in this file is being reviewed and will be corrected and updated as research progresses.
THE ONLINE ARCHIVE
Welcome to The Hunt Museum Archives
With the launch of our first online catalogue of the Hunt Collection documenting the celebrated collection of fine and decorative arts and antiquities in October 2005 we began a new phase in providing access to this wonderful resource. The second element of that phase making The Hunt Museum Archives accessible to a broader audience is now complete and available on this site.
In 2005, the complete Hunt Museum archive was listed to professional archival standards by consultant archivist, Bernie Deasy. The resulting descriptive list is now available in the form of a searchable database. This database contains a description of each individual file in the archive. Files are arranged in a manner which relates to relevance within the context of the overall collection. Readers can browse the outline of the content and structure of the archive at this site.
The newly completed finding aid to the archives augments the online catalogue by providing additional information about each object in the Museum’s collection as well as providing a guide to extant information on John and Gertrude Hunt’s roles as researchers, collectors and dealers. This finding aid is a new initiative for the Museum. Users are asked to bear in mind that the database is very much a working document and amendments to enhance accuracy will be made from time to time. However, the Museum wants to make accessible available information about the collection through the archive, to the widest audience as immediately as possible. In this context, we encourage any feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) which will enhance the accuracy and quality of what we are ultimately aiming to achieve. With a project such as this it is difficult to anticipate the amount of feedback we will receive, but it is our intention to try and respond to all reasonable requests and observations within a reasonable timeframe.
As outlined above, the archive was listed to full professional archival descriptive standards by Bernie Deasy, Consultant Archivist. The essential IT elements for the development of this site were completed by Margaret Lantry, Information Consultant. Further IT support was provided by Paul O’Connor, ONS Customised Network Solutions, and ESAT BT who provide broadband access. Internet Ireland kindly hosts our website.
Innovative use of new technologies and the development of the Internet marks a breakthrough in art education institutions, such as The Hunt Museum, that are now able to offer, up-to-date information around the clock at the convenience of the viewer, bringing the holdings of the Museum into homes, offices and schools for free. The work completed on cataloguing both the collection and archive and resulting online accessibility establishes The Hunt Museum as a primary research centre in the area of fine and decorative arts and antiquities. W ith many beneficial forces coming together at The Hunt Museum, we enjoy our continually expanding role. I thank all of those who have supported us in achieving this. The Museum now has a visible profile not only in Ireland, but now also internationally extended, through the new horizons, provided by the Internet and our online resources.
Structure, content and document types
The Hunt Museum archives reflect the collecting interests and other projects undertaken by John Hunt, Senior, and Gertrude Hunt. The majority of the collection, presented in section A1, comprises files for objects held by The Hunt Museum. Section A2 contains files for objects acquired by the Hunts but not held by The Hunt Museum. Most of these objects now reside at Craggaunowen, county Clare. Some of the objects for which there are files in Section A, part of the Hunt Collection, may never have been transferred to The Hunt Museum. There is also a file pertaining to the Holderness Crucifix (HM/ARCH/A2/00027) bequeathed by Gertrude Hunt to The British Museum. All object files held by The Hunt Museum, regardless of whether the object is now held by the Museum, are described here. In order to convey as much information as possible about the contents of object files, the file-level descriptions treat of each document therein. It should be noted that not all objects have archival information connected to them.
The Hunt Museum uses up to five standard forms to record information about its objects. Typically, registration information about objects is recorded on documents named as ‘information cards’ or ‘object description sheets.’ They usually note object type or title, description, material, origin, date, attribution and dimensions. Provenance information is sometimes noted, as are the find details of archaeological objects. Either sketches or photographs of objects are often present. The object files contain photocopies of information cards and object description sheets, and are working documents, amended over time to reflect the acquisition of new information about objects. The originals of information cards and object description sheets are held in the Museum. ‘Hunt Museum collection survey forms’ record the state of preservation and conservation requirements of objects. ‘Acquisition sheets’ note information such as name of donor, value of object and date and method of acquisition. It seems that the use of the ‘Acquisition sheets’ began only very recently. Object files sometimes contain ‘Hunt Museum object comment sheets’ or similar documents. These interesting documents capture the sometimes diverging opinions of visiting experts about museum objects. For instance, visiting experts may attribute the same object to different geographical regions or time periods. The archives database seeks to capture the sometimes conflicting information that object files convey about museum objects. In this connection, it should be noted that while it is the function of the accompanying museum catalogue to describe objects in the collection, the purpose of the archives database is to describe, rather than interpret, documents and their contents. This approach is in accordance with standard archival practice. Therefore, there may be differences in information content between the archives and catalogue databases.
Object files often contain photocopies taken from relevant literature. These may be published references to the object in question in the sales catalogues of auction houses, scholarly works, journals and exhibition catalogues. Object files often contain material pertaining to objects in other collections which are similar to Hunt Museum objects. This has been amassed by Hunt Museum staff over time for the purpose of research. Again, this material is usually taken from the sources indicated above. In relation to photocopies taken from the catalogues of sale of auction houses, it is not always clear if it is Hunt Museum objects that are depicted or objects that are merely similar. Therefore, if available, it would be instructive to consult the archives of relevant auction houses.
It is evident that much of the material in object files is recent and has been collated by Hunt Museum staff rather than the Hunt family. However, there are also some documents which were created and received by John Hunt, Senior, and Gertrude Hunt. In this respect, the object files are a recent and ‘artificial’ creation, the archives of John Hunt, Senior, and Gertrude Hunt being broken up for administrative convenience and placed in the relevant object files. Such documents might be, for instance, notes in the hand of John Hunt, Senior, describing objects; letters to the Hunts written by various experts, usually in the United States or Europe, attempting to interpret objects; letters written to the Hunts in response to their attempts to trace the provenance of objects in their collection; and letters and other documents relating to the Hunts lending objects in their collection to various exhibitions. Where provenance information is given in documents it is noted. Unfortunately, few copy letters created by the Hunts are extant here so it is mostly incoming documents that survive. Further research into the Hunts’ activities may be carried out by ascertaining if their correspondents retained archives. There may also be more recent documents created and received by Hunt Museum staff resulting from research into the collection. Some of this research has been done by Hunt Museum docents (volunteer guides) and sometimes results in the writing of short research papers about objects.
The archives collection is divided into Sections A and B. As described above, Section A comprises object files. Section B contains more general files pertaining to the interests of the Hunt Family and includes little information that directly pertains to The Hunt Museum. The most substantial such information is contained in documents (HM/ARCH/B1c/00003) which list some objects given by Gertrude Hunt to the first incarnation of The Hunt Museum housed at the National Institute of Higher Education, Limerick, (now the University of Limerick) from 1978-1997.
Section B is divided into seven major sub-sections. The first of these pertains to projects in which John Hunt, Senior, was involved. In terms of extant documentation, the least significant section refers to his acting as interior design consultant for a renovation of the Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, county Clare (HM/ARCH/B1b/00001). The more significant projects are the restoration of Bunratty Castle, county Clare, and the Craggaunowen project, also county Clare. John Hunt, Senior, had purchased Craggaunowen Castle in 1970. The project was to restore the castle and build three new structures, a museum to house the Hunts’ collection and reconstructions of a crannóg (a lake-dwelling) and a ring-fort (an early farmstead). Documents extant here mostly refer to fund-raising for the project. It is possible that these documents were collated by officials of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company, in their capacity as project administrators, rather than the Hunts.
Bunratty Castle, county Clare, was purchased and restored by Robert Vereker, 7th Viscount Gort, during the 1950s. He was assisted in its restoration by John Hunt, Senior. Other agencies involved in the restoration project were the Office of Public Works and Bord Fáilte Éireann (Irish Tourist Board). The officials of these agencies are frequently mentioned in documents. Among the Bunratty archives, the most significant documents are the 170 letters written by Lord Gort to John Hunt, Senior, and Gertrude Hunt. They date from 1952 to 1965 and give great detail about Lord Gort’s plans for the castle. Many letters relate to building materials, particularly timber, and art objects and furniture Lord Gort planned to install in the castle.
A further sub-section contains documents connected with three publications of John Hunt, Senior. There are several hundred photographs connected with research for Irish Medieval Figure Sculpture (Irish University Press, 1974). Hunt wrote a paper entitled ‘A silver gilt casket, and the Thame ring’ published in ‘Sonderdruck aus Intuition und Kunstwissenschaft: Festschrift für Hanns Swarzenski ( Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1973). Copies of this paper are present as are some materials arising from Hunt’s background research. Finally, there are printer’s plates for a paper by Hunt entitled ‘The Limerick Mitre and Crozier’ (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis & Co., date unspecified). These objects are currently held by The Hunt Museum, on loan from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limerick. A copy of this paper is held in the relevant object file (HM/ARCH/A1/00072).
A third sub-section of Section B comprises mostly photographs. Their subjects vary, and this is very likely an artificially rather than organically-created file, but are, for instance, photographs of members of the Hunt family; photographs taken at homes of the Hunt family, some of which include displays of objects in their collection; photographs and other material, typically clippings from The Connoisseur magazine, which treat of the art dealership of John Hunt, Senior, located at 30c Bury Street, London.
A fourth sub-section of Section B pertains to four private collectors, Doctor Philip Nelson, John Ball, Sir William Burrell and Lieutenant-General A.L.F. Pitt Rivers. It is evident from documents throughout the archives collection that objects formerly held by at least three of these persons (Nelson, Ball and Pitt Rivers) entered the Hunt Collection. The most interesting material in this section pertains to Nelson. He bequeathed some of the objects in his collection to John Hunt, Senior, and documents indicate that Nelson may have purchased some objects from Hunt when he was a dealer. Hunt acted for Sotheby’s to value Nelson’s collection after his death in 1953, at a time when many objects were purchased by Liverpool Museum. These catalogues or valuations of Nelson’s collection are extant here (HM/ARCH/B4a/00003). Liverpool Museum also acquired Nelson’s archives and scattered throughout The Hunt Museum’s archives collection are photocopies of relevant documents from the Nelson archive. Also extant here is a large number of letters from Samuel Caldwell, a stained glass artist, Blackfriars North, Canterbury, to Nelson, in relation to works Caldwell carried out for him (HM/ARCH/B4a/00001).
The next sub-section relates to attempts by John Hunt, Senior, to purchase some tombs of the Probert family in Britain in the 1955-56 period. This small section comprises several letters and photographs (HM/ARCH/B5/00001).
A further sub-section comprises material which was found enclosed in publications which belonged to John Hunt, Senior. Such documents might be letters, postcards, photographs and extracts from the sales catalogues of auction houses. This material is arranged with reference to the publication in which it was found. Some of the enclosures seem not to have any overt relationship with the publications in which they were found and this suggests that they were not placed there by particular design.
The final sub-section contains varied secondary reference material, which does include one paper written by John Hunt, Senior. It is entitled ‘Bishop Wellesley’s Tomb Carvings.’
The basis of The Hunt Museum archives collection, as presented here, is documents transferred by the Hunt family to the Museum. Close examination of the archives suggests that it is highly likely that further documents may have been lost, as is very common with collections of archives, or be extant elsewhere. For instance, it is considered probable that not all the letters Lord Gort wrote to John Hunt, Senior, and Gertrude Hunt are held by The Hunt Museum. The vast majority of the letters presented here date from the 1952-59 period, and several date from 1965. There are then, no letters from the 1960-64 period. This is a considerable time lapse given that Lord Gort was a frequent correspondent. Such lacunae may also exist in other parts of this archives collection. With this in mind, the collection has been structured, and the documents coded, in a manner that will permit future additions. Each document has been coded to allow for its identification and for security purposes.
The Hunt Museum also holds administrative files and it is planned that these files will be made available in the future.
With the exception of exact duplicates, documents, typically facsimiles, recorded on poor-quality thermal paper and library materials, all documents throughout the archives collection have been retained. It is standard archival practice to retain only photocopies of documents on thermal paper.
There are several points to note about the archives database and the documents described therein. Where used, square brackets denote either uncertainty or enclose information which has been inserted for clarity. For search purposes, apostrophes have been omitted except where documents are quoted from and where they are included in the titles of publications. This database was created using Microsoft Access. This software does not allow the selective italicization of text so instead, the titles of publications are enclosed in quotation marks. Many references to and photocopies from publications are encountered in the archives but many were not fully referenced in documents. Where possible, full bibliographical details are supplied but in some cases, publications were not traced. Also, because publications are not always fully referenced in documents it is possible that incorrect details have been supplied in this database. Unless otherwise stated all documents are written in English. An exception to this is that publications are generally written in the language suggested by their titles. After English, the language most frequently encountered is German and summary translations (completed by a Hunt Museum docent) for some of these documents are present. This is not an exhaustive list but other languages that appear in documents are French, Dutch, Irish and Italian. John Hunt, Senior, and his son, John Hunt, Junior, are denoted as such for the purpose of clarity. Gertrude Hunt was known to many people as ‘Putzel’ and some documents refer to her as ‘P. Hunt’ or variations on this. Descriptions of files in Section B tend to be summary descriptions which mention significant information rather than describing each document. This was done because of the large number of items in some files. Archives collections are usually arranged chronologically. This was not possible in the case of most sections in this collection, for instance, the object files in Section A, as so many documents are undated. On account of this, in order to give some indication of the dates of documents, the convention used is to note known dates rather than approximate covering dates.
In order to ensure compliance with Ireland’s Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003, the personal information of private persons has usually not been published in the archives database. Personal information refers to names and addresses. Such persons are those who correspond with The Hunt Museum, for instance, visitors to the Museum, researchers, donors, private collectors, authors and visiting experts. In the case of the latter two, authors and visiting experts, only their private addresses are withheld. The names of Hunt Museum docents have been withheld except where they are the authors of research papers or similar documents about museum objects.
All other information throughout the collection is accessible to researchers with one exception. This is a portion of one letter in file HM/ARCH/A1/00917 conveying information which the author (a person unconnected with The Hunt Museum) requested not be disclosed.
Bernie Deasy BA DipArchSc
Access to the Archives
To obtain access to the archives you will need to consult the Finding aid for the collection which comprises an online searchable database which contains a description of each individual file in the archive. This finding aid is located on this site (the Outline of the Content and Structure of the Archive). Once you have identified the material which you wish to consult, you need to complete the necessary Reader Application form and make an appointment. To help make your visit as useful as possible we will need to know the date of your proposed visit. Staff can advise on resources suitable to your needs, but it helps if you have found a reference to the material required. An appointment can be made by email (email@example.com) or by post.
Anyone can use the archives. All you need to do is provide some proof of identity (e.g. an identity card, driver’s licence or passport). You will also be required to complete a Reader Application form for access to the archives and you may be asked for a letter of introduction from an appropriate individual or organization.
- Click here for a printer friendly version [PDF] of the Reader Application form.
Access to the archives is governed by the Archives Access Policy as set out below.
Archives Access Policy
- The Hunt Museum promotes the greatest possible access to its archival collections for research purposes.
- In general, open records are those which are more than 10 years old. In some cases, access to more recent records may be permissible. Access to some archives, including some older than 10 years, may be denied because of poor physical condition, personal and organisational privacy and confidentiality requirements.
- In general, access is not permitted to unprocessed archival material. Access in such cases is at the discretion of the Director.
- Archives are available to all researchers who fulfil the access criteria.
- Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
- The archives are for reference only and no borrowing of documents is permissible.
It is possible to gain access to archival collections by two means:
- Visiting the Museum
- Availing of the Museum’s research service
We have full disabled access to the reading room. There is also a disabled toilet on the premises.
All prospective researchers must fulfil the access criteria:
- Researchers must have a stated research interest. The Hunt Museum must possess archives related to the stated research interest.
- Researchers must agree in writing to abide by the reading room rules.
- Researchers must supply personal and contact information to the Hunt Museum. This is for communication, security and statistical purposes.
- Researchers must complete a Reader Application form.
- Researchers must present photo identity.
- Access privileges may be refused or withdrawn if any of the access criteria outlined here is breached.
Visiting the Museum
It is necessary to have an appointment to consult the archives. Appointments may be made by contacting the Director’s Office. Opening hours are as follows: Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm.
- Museum staff will respond to brief research queries on behalf of researchers unable to visit the Museum in person. The Museum reserves the right to refuse any request deemed to require an unreasonable amount of staff time.
- Researchers who require extensive research to be completed may find it necessary to hire an independent researcher.
- Those researchers who use the Museum’s research service must complete a Reader Application form.
Publishing or reproducing archival documents
- Materials in the Hunt Museum Archives are protected by relevant Irish copyright legislation, the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000.
- The Hunt Museum will provide copies of a reasonable number of documents upon written application by researchers (print out and complete the Copy Request form). By providing photocopies, photographic copies, digital images, electronic copies or copies in any other form, the Hunt Museum does not convey the right to reproduce or publish any document.
- Permission to reproduce or publish must be obtained by submitting to the Director, for approval, a Permission to Publish or Use Reproductions of Documents Form.
- The Hunt Museum does not own copyright in all documents in its archival collections. In all cases, acquiring permission to reproduce or publish documents from the copyright holder rests with the researcher.
For further information on the publication or reproduction of archival documents, please see the Museum’s Archives Reproduction Policy.
General rules of use
Those using the archives are required to abide by the following rules. Users must sign the Undertaking which follows as a condition of access. The Hunt Museum reserves the right to refuse access.
- Users are responsible for all material issued to them and must be careful at all times when handling original materials and fragile printed works.
- Permission to examine original material does not include permission to publish, which must be applied for separately.
- Users must complete the attendance book on every visit.
- Users must use either a lead pencil or a laptop computer when taking notes.
- Mobile telephones must be turned off in the reading room.
- No food, drink or other substances which may harm archives are permitted in the reading room. Pens, Tipp-Ex, adhesives, newspapers and sharp instruments may not be brought into the reading room. The reading room supervisor may not permit the presence in the reading room of other materials or objects which pose a threat to the safe preservation of archives.
- Users are requested not to attempt to re-arrange archives in any way.
- Users are requested not to mark, fold or alter archival documents. Post-its or similar devices may not be placed on archives as they cause permanent damage.
- Users are requested not lean on archives or use them as a support for writing.
- Archives may not be removed from the reading room.
- Researchers must draw the attention of the reading room supervisor to damaged or missing documents.
- Users may take notes but are not permitted to make a copy in any manner without acquiring the permission of the reading room supervisor.
- Users should seek the advice of the relevant member of Museum staff to ascertain the correct procedure for citing archival documents in publications and other works.
- Users must comply with all other reasonable requests of the reading room supervisor.
Outline of the Content and Structure of the Archive
The dates reflect the scope of the information content within the archive.
Files for objects held by The Hunt Museum
This search will yield a large number of results; to search this item more conveniently, search the Online Catalogue. Every record for an object in the Online Catalogue is linked to the relevant archival file
Files for objects not held by The Hunt Museum
Hunt Family Files
a. Bunratty Castle, county Clare, c. 1952-71
b. Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, county Clare, 1963
c. Craggaunowen, county Clare, c. 1972-79
Publications of John Hunt, Senior
a. Research materials for Irish Medieval Figure Sculpture 1200-1600 (Irish University Press, 1974)
b. ‘A silver gilt casket, and the Thame ring’ published in Sonderdruck aus Intuition und Kunstwissenschaft: Festschrift für Hanns Swarzenski (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1973)
c. Printers’ plates for The Limerick Mitre and Crozier (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis & Co.)
Photographs: Hunt Family and Collection, c. 1934-67
a. Doctor Philip Nelson, c. 1908-2001
b. John Ball, c. 1987-2005
c. Sir William Burrell, c. 1983-98
d. Lieutenant-General A.L.F. Pitt Rivers, c. 1987-2005
Material relating to the Probert Tombs, Britain, c. 1955-56
Enclosures found in publications which belonged to John Hunt, Senior
Secondary reference materials, c. 1929-87
Copyright and Conditions of Use
The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only.
The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of The Hunt Museum Ltd.
The Hunt Museum
The Customs House
Disclaimer and waiver of responsibility
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided on this website is accurate and up-to-date. If you notice any errors or omissions please let us know as soon as possible and we will correct them as appropriate.
Access to and use of the information herein is entirely at the risk of the user. The Hunt Museum Ltd., shall not be liable, directly or indirectly, to the user or any other third party for any damage resulting from the use of the information contained or implied in this web site.
The Hunt Museum Ltd., and its servants or agents assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up-to-date nature of the information provided on the website at this time and do not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions. The Hunt Museum Ltd., hereby formally disclaims liability in respect of such aforesaid matters
The site sometimes links to external sites over which The Hunt Museum Ltd., has no control and accepts no responsibility.
No document on the site is a legal interpretation and should not be seen as such. If you need professional or legal advice you should consult a suitably qualified person.
The Hunt Museum Ltd., has endeavoured to attribute copyright or other intellectual rights to the rightful owners where such course has been appropriate. Where any attribution has been missed or overlooked The Hunt Museum Ltd., on being informed, will correct this omission.
By proceeding into the Hunt Museum Website you are accepting this disclaimer.
Guide to Fields in the Database
The contents of the Hunt Museum’s Catalogue database is organized online into the following fields:
This number consists of two to three alphabetic characters followed by a space and up to three digits. A second number following a decimal point or forward slash (/) indicates that the object is one of either a group or that the item is a multiple-component object which has parts documented individually.
The name of the artist/creator/maker in ‘first name’ ‘surname’ order, with year of birth and death if known.