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Aces Introduction & Guidelines

Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society Catalogues, 1888-1916 

The Bifmo Project

Generously funded by Albert Dawson Educational Trust

Notes for the User

This resource includes the transcription of eleven Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society catalogues, 1888-1916 and one cumulative index.

The transcribed catalogues form lists of exhibits and a global catalogue to the exhibitions has been prepared for ease of electronic searching. The format of the main catalogue (exhibit listings) enables a simple keyword search. The index itemises the contributions by participating designers, craftspeople and exhibitors and is linked to the related exhibition catalogue entries. For those in the furniture making trade there are also links from the index to the BIFMO biographies.

Methodology of the Project

Original Source

The online versions used for the carrying out the transcription work are available on https://archive.org/ or https://nal-vam.on.worldcat.org/discovery from originals available at the National Art Library, V&A. Accession numbers are: 1888 - NB.91.0988; 1889 - NB.91.0989; 1890 - NB.91.0990; 1893 - NB.91.0991; 1896 - NB.91.0992; 1899 - NB.91.0993; 1903 - NB.91.0994; 1906 - NB.91.0995; 1910 - NB.91.0996; 1912 - L.2320-1912; 1916 - 200.B.13
It should be noted that more than one edition was probably printed for each of the eleven catalogues. There was no index included in the catalogues for the years 1899 and 1903 in the above editions so these have been produced by the editors. Where a published index is available it is not always complete or accurate.

Transcriptions of the Catalogues

The catalogues, but not index, have been transcribed verbatim, including typographical errors, thereby preserving each document’s originality. However, to facilitate an accurate and easy search editorial discretion has been applied; for example, where an exhibitor showed a number of items which the catalogue lists sequentially under their name, in the transcribed version the relevant name is repeated against each object exhibited.

There are also anomalies within the catalogues which are best verified in the original: for example, the 1916 exhibition included a “Retrospective Room”. This was included in the catalogue with separate numbering (but excluded from the printed index), so this room appears first with exhibits one to eighty-three, then the numbering for other rooms begins again at one. The user should also note that in the same catalogue there are two sets of entries numbered 189.


Cumulative Index

Most of the original catalogues, 1888-1916, include an index of ‘exhibitors, craftsmen and artists, etc.’ but not the transcribed editions of 1899 and 1903. The original indexes include addresses for exhibitors only. The accuracy and entirety of these cannot be guaranteed, although the editors have attempted to correct original errors and show accurate entry numbers in the cumulative index. 

An index of the designers, exhibitors, craftspeople, and associated trades, with no addresses, from 1899 and 1903 has been created. 
You can view the Cumulative Index here [ - ACES Cumulative Index - ]

Users should note the following in this cumulative index:

The printed indexes list exhibitors, artists and craftsmen but not manufacturers. This policy was not always followed. All categories including manufacturers have now been included for 1899 and 1903.

  1. The spelling of names has been standardised, showing addresses as recorded. 
  2. The electronic index uses an asterisk symbol * to indicate when the name printed in the original catalogue index does not appear in the corresponding exhibit description. This mis-match often occurred when the person was associated with an institution, educational establishment, association, or society.
  3. The printed index often gives the formal (husband’s) initial(s) for a married lady and the catalogue shows her christian name or occasionally vice versa. To clarify this inconsistency, the index name format has been followed by the first name in brackets. Where exhibits have been shown under both maiden and then married surname, the name as appearing in the printed index is shown and the additional surname noted. 
  4. Joint names. It is not always apparent whether these were individuals working together or the name of a firm. 
  5. Duplicate names have been consolidated by the editors after considering the person’s trade and materials of the exhibited object, and where possible genealogical research.
  6. Typographical errors have been corrected. 
  7. Full exhibit numbers. Where numerous exhibits were recorded in one entry of the original or the correct number is unclear from catalogue descriptions, the letter following exhibit number is omitted.
  8. Twenty-first century terminology has been adopted throughout this index (e.g.no Messrs. and use of ‘AND’ rather than ‘&’) although the search programme on BIFMO will pick up both for example Collinson & Lock, Collinson and Collinson.

The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society project has been accomplished by Jo Buckrell (BIFMO Research Assistant), Jonathan Blaney (BIFMO Digital Consultant), Blue-Bag (BIFMO Website Host and Developer) and Clarissa Ward (BIFMO 19th /early 20th Century Editor).