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Collecting Art

The Earl and Countess of Arundel's Collection

Wenceslaus Hollar. Two moths and six insects. Hand-colored etching, 1646

Fame gained from collecting and display became a new aspect of aristocratic identity. In his will, the earl of Arundel asked his son James to "succeed me in my love and reference to antiquities and all things of art...."


These etchings by Wenceslaus Hollar of exotic moths and insects were based on drawings or paintings in the Arundel collection copied by Hollar while he was employed by the earl and countess. He also copied drawings by Leonardo and numerous other artworks in their collection.



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More on Wenceslaus Hollar


In May of 1636, the earl of Arundel invited Hollar to join the English diplomatic mission to the Emperor Ferdinand in Vienna. It remains unclear how Hollar had made Arundel's acquaintance, but we do know that Hollar recorded the journey of Arundel and his entourage in a series of over one hundred drawings and watercolors, most of which are still extant.


The young Czech artist's skills evidently made quite an impression on Arundel. And, at the end of 1636, he traveled to England to take up a position etching the works in Arundel's growing art collection.

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