18th Century sizzling air balloon tickets I Curator’s Nook +

published on July 2, 2020

so one of the oddities of the British

Museum's prints and drawings collection

is it's really not all about dura and

Michelangelo and it has lots of material

that is sort of really much more about

social history and at the heart of that

is this amazing collection of over

19,000 bits of paper collected by Sarah

safar banks Sarah's sapphire banks with

sister of Joseph Banks the very best

name for going with cook on his first

job voyage around the Pacific and Sarah

safar lived with her brother in Soho

Square kept house for him and then

rather unusually of the 18th century

when he married she still stayed in the

house and I think come lady banks must

have been a rather forgiving type as the

house filled up with more and more bits

of paper because basically what Sarah's

have I did was she collected every

single bit of paper that she came across

so it's this extraordinary idea of

Georgian England so trade card visiting

cards playbills tickets for operas to my

right here is a very typical folder that

she – she's a sort of born

curator she loves to arrange her

collection and so these are all tickets

for this exciting new site at the end of

the 18th century of the ascent of

balloons so this one here is just around

the corner from the BM in Tottenham

Court Road and then often she writes in

her other neat handwriting comments

about it it's called the British balloon

so possibly rather appropriately for the

day we live in would naturally get off

the ground and what's interesting I

think about Sarah's fire is there often

things that she didn't collect herself

people sent to her so things sent to her

from the Congress Vienna

there are things sent to her from

Washington because she's the sister of a

very important man she has this sort of

rather strange fixation with printed

ephemera and so people say oh yes

going to keep this and send it off to to

Sara so far and in Soho Square and so

it's not only at this idea you go to the

kind of this growing world of London and

all these entertainments and all these

wonderful fancy Goods flowing in from

the Empire but it's also this network

that Sarah Sapphire has that are sending

things back to her right from the kind

of foreign secretary at the Congress of

Vienna and all these British diplomats I

mean it would be rather odd today feel

sort of the the foreign secretary spend

all their time and kind of Washington

collecting visiting cards and sending

them back but they did for the very

obviously very persuasive Sarah so far

so that's one aspect of our collection

and she also collected Satar prints

which is another great strength of our

collection so she's a sort of

wonderfully quirky and odd character and

this as I say it gives you such an

insight into Georgian England and he

won't be surprised the moment she died

her sister-in-law gave the entire

collection of the British Museum

probably the lice hit to be rid of it

out of the house but it's all online and

accessible so if you have a kind of

rainy afternoon please spend your time

looking at Sara's Safari printed

ephemera you won't be disappointed

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