Resonant Histories

Pacific artefacts and the voyages of HMS Royalist 1890-1893

Alison Clark with contributions by Eve Haddow & Christopher Wright | 2019

Resonant Histories

Pacific artefacts and the voyages of HMS Royalist 1890-1893

Alison Clark with contributions by Eve Haddow & Christopher Wright | 2019

ISBN: 9789088906299

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 182x257mm | 272 pp. | Pacific Presences 6 | Language: English | 19 illus. (bw) | 173 illus. (fc) | Keywords: Pacific island studies, museum studies, post-colonialism, collecting, colonialism, photography | download cover

This book explores a complex relational assemblage, a collection of 1481 Pacific artefacts brought together by Captain Edward Henry Meggs Davis, during the three voyages of HMS Royalist between 1890-1893. The collection is indicative not just of a period of colonial collecting in the Pacific, but also the development of ethnographic collections in the UK and Europe. This period of history remains present in the social and cultural lives of many Pacific Islanders today.

Using the collections as a starting point the book is divided into two parts. The first provides the historical background to the three voyages of HMS Royalist, discussing each voyage, its aims and outcomes, and the role that Davis played within this. Davis’ motivations to collect and the various means of collecting that he employed are then explored within this historical context. Finally the first part considers what happened to the collection once it was sent from the Pacific to England, where and how it was sold, and how the collection was a part of and subject to the networks of museums, and private collectors in the UK and Europe during the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th century. It offers a detailed view of the contents and development of the collection, and what the collection can tell us about British ethnographic collecting at the end of the nineteenth century.

The second part of the book explores the traces left by the ship amongst the Pacific Islands communities it visited. Focusing on three Pacific Islands- Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Kiribati- the chapters in this section interrogate the contemporary relevance of this period of colonial history for Islanders today, exploring current social, political and environmental issues.

This books is part of the Pacific Presences series. Click here to see the other volumes in this series.

List of figures
Biographies
Preface
Introduction

Part I Voyaging and Collecting

1. ‘Enacting British Law’ in the Pacific

2. Collecting the Pacific

Part III Networks

3. All the Pacific for Sale

Part III History and Contemporary Change

5. Tracing Tappea: The HMS Royalist in Vanuatu
Eve Haddow

6. Histories
Chris Wright

7. The Union Jack Festival, Kiribati

Epilogue

Dr. Alison Clark

Alison Clark is a Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Both her masters (2007) and PhD (2013) theses were on the Indigenous Australian collections at the British Museum. Her current research is focused on Kiribati, where she is interested in the contemporary resonance of historic museum collections, and the revival of certain cultural practices. She has previously worked on projects at the British Museum, and the October Gallery in London.

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Abstract:

This book explores a complex relational assemblage, a collection of 1481 Pacific artefacts brought together by Captain Edward Henry Meggs Davis, during the three voyages of HMS Royalist between 1890-1893. The collection is indicative not just of a period of colonial collecting in the Pacific, but also the development of ethnographic collections in the UK and Europe. This period of history remains present in the social and cultural lives of many Pacific Islanders today.

Using the collections as a starting point the book is divided into two parts. The first provides the historical background to the three voyages of HMS Royalist, discussing each voyage, its aims and outcomes, and the role that Davis played within this. Davis’ motivations to collect and the various means of collecting that he employed are then explored within this historical context. Finally the first part considers what happened to the collection once it was sent from the Pacific to England, where and how it was sold, and how the collection was a part of and subject to the networks of museums, and private collectors in the UK and Europe during the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th century. It offers a detailed view of the contents and development of the collection, and what the collection can tell us about British ethnographic collecting at the end of the nineteenth century.

The second part of the book explores the traces left by the ship amongst the Pacific Islands communities it visited. Focusing on three Pacific Islands- Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Kiribati- the chapters in this section interrogate the contemporary relevance of this period of colonial history for Islanders today, exploring current social, political and environmental issues.

This books is part of the Pacific Presences series. Click here to see the other volumes in this series.

Contents

List of figures
Biographies
Preface
Introduction

Part I Voyaging and Collecting

1. ‘Enacting British Law’ in the Pacific

2. Collecting the Pacific

Part III Networks

3. All the Pacific for Sale

Part III History and Contemporary Change

5. Tracing Tappea: The HMS Royalist in Vanuatu
Eve Haddow

6. Histories
Chris Wright

7. The Union Jack Festival, Kiribati

Epilogue

Dr. Alison Clark

Alison Clark is a Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Both her masters (2007) and PhD (2013) theses were on the Indigenous Australian collections at the British Museum. Her current research is focused on Kiribati, where she is interested in the contemporary resonance of historic museum collections, and the revival of certain cultural practices. She has previously worked on projects at the British Museum, and the October Gallery in London.

read more









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