Articles

Dealer in Magic: James Cox’s Jewelry Museum and the Economics of Luxurious Spectacle in Late-Eighteenth-Century London

Dealer in Magic: James Cox’s Jewelry Museum and the Economics of Luxurious Spectacle in Late-Eighteenth-Century London

Pointon, Marcia

History of Political Economy, Vol.31 (1999)

Abstract

The linking of the words industry and heritage appears to belong unmistakably to our own era of global tourism, media as manufacture, museology, and so-called indirect earnings. Jules Lubbock (1995, 134) has argued that Adam Smith’s prescience as an economic theorist hits a problem with the arts owing to his insistence “that productive labour was only that which resulted in some permanent object ‘which lasts for some time.’ ” The spectacle I examine in this essay comprised objects that were transitional (stylistically and materially) in a display that had all the hallmarks of ephemerality and brilliance that characterize the language of economic debate in late-eighteenth-century England, which was, perhaps, more multifaceted than Lubbock has assumed.

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