British Museum

(236 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

The British Museum was founded by Act of Parliament which received the royal assent from King George II on 7 June 1753. It was the first such collection in the world, a national collection, available to the public, not the collection of a private individual, or of a monarch, or of a church. Its very diversity signalled an age of enlightenment in which every aspect of culture and nature were being seen as worthy of detached, scholarly, intellectual and rational attention. It announced the modern world.

The initial core of the collection was the bequest of the private collection established by the physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). This extraordinary collection, one of the greatest in the world at this time, …

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Clark, Robert. "British Museum". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 February 2014
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]