The Lewis Collection

University of Cambridge Museums

 A Private Antiquarian Collection from Corpus Christi College

Decades after the opening of the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1848, and a long time before the establishment of the archaeology museums in Cambridge, the Rev. Samuel Savage Lewis was starting to amass his own private museum in his rooms in Old Court at Corpus Christi College. As Librarian, Lewis had a suite of rather unconventional rooms: with an Early Tudor gallery, a crypt, a barred doorway into St Bene’t’s Church and a narrow spiral staircase with views into the chapel, Lewis’s rooms were perhaps not ideal for displaying and storing an antiquarian collection of over 4,000 objects. But imagining the way that these objects were displayed and the visitors who saw them quickly fascinated me.

Lewis PortraitMy initial perceptions of Lewis were influenced largely by a rather unfortunate description of him as ‘notoriously ugly’ and his nickname of ‘Satan Lewis’. Revolving the…

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About Jose Ramon Marcaida

I’m a historian of science interested in the history of early modern Iberian science and its connection with Renaissance and Baroque visual culture. More generally, I’m interested in the relation between texts, images and things across the Humanities.
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