0091 John Brampton Philpot's Photographs of Fictile Ivory in the Hungarian National Museum

  • Júlia Papp (Author)
    Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Art History, Budapest


    1981: Graduated in history and history of art from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest

    1986: Graduated in aesthetics from the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

    1984–1987: Fellowship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    1989: University Doctor’s Degree

    1992–1995: Three-year scholarship for young researchers awarded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

    1997: PhD Graduation

    1997–2000: Work at the Research Institute for Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a participant in a postgraduate research program

    2002–2006: Work in the research team created by the Office for Subsidised Research Units of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for the study and computer cataloguing of the engraving collection of the ELTE University Library

    2009–: working at the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Art History as a research fellow

Identifiers (Article)


In the Archeological Archives of the Hungarian National Museum you can find a series of photographs depicting fictile ivory. Made up of 265 items, the series were produced by John Brampton Philpot, born in the UK and settled in Florence in the middle of the 19th century, then donated to the museum by Ferenc Pulszky in 1868. Turned to exile in 1849, Pulszky inherited his belated uncle's valuable ivory collection, which was exhibited in London in 1853. Since technologies which made it possible for sensitive artefacts to be reproduced without any damage done to the original had become available by that time, Pulszky gave authorization, upon request of his colleagues at South Kensington Museum, for the reproduction of his ivory collection. In 1863 Pulszky started to live in Florence, where he got into professional contact with Philpot and is likely to have been instrumental in the making of the above photo series of fictile ivory. Philpot published an individual catalogue of these series, which despite its misspellings and erroneous data has provided great assistance in identifying the photographs from Budapest. Philpot's series of photographs supplied a lot of important information for the European history of photographing and collecting art treasures in the 19th century, and also contributed to the art reproduction movement of the 1850-60s. New technologies (electrotyping, photography) came to play a dominant role in the institutional development of art history, archeology and historic conservation. The network established and widened between the European public and private collections, which enhanced the exchange and the sales of art reproductions, with the intention of serving both educative and scientific aims.


John Brampton Philpot, Ferenc Pulszky, fictile ivory, ivory collections, artwork photography, artwork reproductions