John Marshall (1962–1928) was a connoisseur of classical art who worked as official agent for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York between 1906 and 1928. While living in Rome and maintaining a close connection with leading dealers and intermediaries throughout Europe, Marshall was responsible for having found many of the finest pieces that comprise one of the largest collections of antiquities in the world.
On his death, Marshall’s private archive – comprising photographs, written notes and a card file – was bequeathed to the British School at Rome; his diaries and notebooks were brought to the University of Oxford by his partner E. P. Warren (1860–1928).
The John Marshall Archive Project was initiated in 2013 with the objective of collating, studying cataloguing and publishing the photographs and documents pertaining to John Marshall and his role in the early 20th century trade of ancient art. All the information was organised and collated in an electronic database now accessible online via the BSR website.
The database was initially set up to allow a chosen number of scholars to research the archive remotely and study a specific theme or subject matter within their own field of expertise. In December 2014 the scholars were hosted in Rome at the BSR to examine the documents in the John Marshall Archive.
They presented the result of their research in Rome at the Trading antiquities in early 20th-Century Europe 2016 BSR Colloquium.
For the occasion, the Library and Archive of the BSR exhibited a selection of photographs and documents from the John Marshall Archive and a fragment of a stone sculpture, attributed by John Marshall to renowned forger Alceo Dossena. The same exhibition, in virtual form, will soon be launched online.
An edited collection of essays on John Marshall and the trading of ancient art in early 20th century Europe, published by Archaeopress is currently in print.
The John Marshall Archive Project has been made possible through funding from the British Academy and the generous support of Mr. Chris Levett and Prof. Peter Wiseman.