3.1 Collectanea Antiqua (7 vols., 1848–80)

With a few exceptions (see for e.g. Scott 2013a and 2014 on the work of Lysons), archaeological discoveries in Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century were published with little regard to the importance of the physical and social contexts of sites and objects. Smith's international comparative studies, published in his Collectanea Antiqua (7 vols, Smith 1843–80), attracted international attention. He began this publication in 1848 as a 'labour of love' (Smith 1848, v) to encourage and promote appreciation of national monuments, antiquities and archaeology:

It must ever be borne in mind, that the science which these collections promote is one of the highest consideration, that it might be made of great public utility, and without which every system of education must be incomplete. (Smith 1848, vii)

The first part of the first volume included sketches made by Smith of 'rare objects of ancient art in the Museum of Bologne' (Smith 1883, 150), and of British and Saxon coins from Sussex and Kent. He records that he was persuaded to continue in the enterprise, although the volumes were published only sporadically due to the foundation of the BAA and its journal. They comprised antiquarian researches 'instituted entirely by individual enterprise, and accomplished at the cost of the parties who originated and conducted them' (Smith 1852a, viii).

A key concern of his was the inclusion of illustrations:

Truth and fidelity to the objects pourtrayed (sic) are indispensable; but these requisites may be ensured by a little care and attention; and it is better that engravings be given, even rudely, and in the slightest outline, if supplied liberally, than that they should be limited in number for the sake of elaborate execution. (Smith 1848, vii)

Smith's goals in this respect were achieved in part through close collaboration with Fairholt, who was in great demand as an illustrator for antiquarian publications, including those of the Society of Antiquaries, the British Archaeological Association and the Numismatic Society (Smith 1883, 218–26; Selborne 2004).

The first two volumes were published with the support of a limited number of subscribers (see Table 1), and with additional contributions in the form of woodcuts and plates from friends (Smith 1848, v). He explains that he thought it unlikely that he would be able to continue to publish Collectanea (after the publication of volume II) as a result of 'the expenses attending printing'. He then 'resolved to modify my former plan; and to guard against heavy pecuniary losses, restricted the issue of Collectanea to subscribers' (1854b, v). Smith was initially criticised for his decision to publish independently (Athenaeum, 10 July 1852, 1289, 745), but he came to achieve significant national and international recognition for his efforts (see for e.g. review of Collectanea Antiqua III in The Literary Gazette, 25 Apr. 1857, 2101, 396). In compiling these volumes he also established important social and intellectual connections: 'It either introduced me to, or brought me into closer connection with many intellectual, some eminent, persons both in this country and France' (Smith 1883, 150). These connections were to prove invaluable for other publishing ventures.


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