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Magpies, Squirrels and Thieves tells the rivetingly bizarre stories of passionate and eccentric nineteenth-century-collectors who braced war zones, revolutions, thieves and auction rooms to amass the great collections of Victorian England. Drawing on journals, eye-witness accounts and news reports, Jacqueline Yallop tells the story of some of the period’s most intriguing collectors, following their hazardous journeys across the globe.
Closer to home, she explores the perils of dodgy dealing and forgery, the cut-throat world of of the fashionable London market and the competitive spirit that drove the country’s collectors. In tracing the development of Victorian Britain’s obsession with the collecting of beautiful things (both private and public); and in describing the emergence of a newfound obsession with things, with possessions, and how they reveal our status to others; Yallop not only builds a fascinating picture of a world in the midst of change, but a world that remains with us to this day.