• Class Number 7045
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr David Hansen
    • Dr David Hansen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course examines the history of art collecting and collections from their origins in temple treasuries, through the private collections of the mediaeval worlds of Europe and Asia, to the role of patrons and princes, past and present in the establishment of art collections and policies. The impact of world exploration and empire on the development of collections and the evolution of public collections are major themes. In addition, contemporary issues regarding collection development will be addressed. The impact of social, political and ethical environments on museum collecting, display and documentation will be explored with particular reference to Australian collections.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Outline and present orally and in written form major themes of collecting history.
2. Use electronic resources to find and share information regarding international laws relating to cultural heritage, and discuss their impact on collecting.
3. Interpret and critique commentary, written and oral, related to art collecting internationally.
4. Develop hypotheses regarding potential subtexts within the material itself.
5. Identify, analyse and describe contemporary factors affecting art collection development.

Field Trips

Subject to COVID restrictions, there may be two tutorials based on field trips to public institutions: the National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia. Both these institutions are located near the centre of Canberra.

Additional Course Costs

Materials necessary for producing essays and tutorial presentations.

Preliminary Reading

Joseph Alsop, The rare art traditions: the history of art collecting and its linked phenomena wherever these have appeared, New York: Princeton University Press/Harper & Row, 1982

Jonathon Brown, Kings and Connoisseurs: collecting art in seventeenth century Europe, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008

Indicative Reading List

Museum International - Journal of International Council of Museums (ICOM)

Journal of the History of Collections

Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course: written comments on essays, verbal comments to the whole class, to groups and individuals.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Referencing requirements

Referencing Guidelines for essay writing and further information on how and why to cite your sources can be found at:


Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: themes, issues and background. Collecting bodies Essay/bibliography topics available
2 Medieval Europe and the collecting of relics. The Early Modern wunderkammer and kunstkammer
3 The classical world - as collected The Enlightenment and the Grand Tour
4 The Sun King: Louis XIV’s collections. Academies, societies and the marketplace. Tutorial presentations 1
5 The collections of Napoleon Buonaparte The Chinese tradition - Qianlong Emperor Tutorial presentations 2
6 The Empire of Things. Correcting taste - the Victoria & Albert Museum Short essay due
7 Collecting Australian Aboriginal art. National and international repatriations Tutorial presentations 3
8 ‘The Rape of Europa’: Nazi loot 1933-45 The NGA, the Shiva Nataraja and the Asian Provenance Project Short essay returned Tutorial presentations 4
9 Thefts and fakes. NFTs (WTF) Tutorial presentations 5
10 'Gilded Age' collectors in the USA 'The Great Art Bubble' (2008)
11 Critiques and interventions. The Parliament House collection
12 In conversation: Terence Maloon, Katie Russell, Sarah Schmidt Major essay due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Oral presentation and tutorial paper 20 % 1,4,5
Short essay: collection analysis (1,500 words) 30 % 1,3,4,5
Long essay: issues in collecting (2,500 words) 40 % 1,2,3,4,5
Tutorial participation 10 % 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


See Participation task above

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5

Oral presentation and tutorial paper

Students are required to present a tutorial paper. The paper will consist of the presentation of a work of art, an historical artefact, a scientific specimen or other object (or of a related group of objects) held in an Australian public collection. The presentation will address the work’s origins, its maker, its material/s, its aesthetic/historical/scientific significance, its ownership and exhibition history, and the manner of its public presentation and interpretation by the custodian museum/gallery.

The presentation should include visual material and run for no more than 10 minutes; you are expected to involve your colleagues in discussion and take questions at the end. A written paper is to be submitted after the presentation. This will take the form of a full, formal cataloguing of the work of art or object under consideration, inc. accession number, artist/maker name and dates, title, date, medium, dimensions, primary inscriptions (signature and date), credit line, provenance, exhibition history and bibliography, together with 2-3 paragraph/300-400 word introduction to the work, in the manner of a museum extended label.

Tutorial presentations will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the course material
  • Critical reading both of the visual content of a work of art or object, and of its current interpretation by the institution
  • Good and relevant use of support material such as images or information handouts
  • Your ability to provide comprehensive information about a work/object, as well as to interpret it for a lay audience
  • Your ability to involve your fellow students in discussion

Word limit: Cataloguing unrestricted, interpretation strictly 400 words maximum

Value: 20%

Presentation requirements: Your oral presentation should be no more than 10 minutes long. You should submit your tutorial paper the week following your presentation: upload to Wattle via Turnitin portal. This should comprise your notes comprehensively written out plus details of images that you used, and a bibliography, including URLs of all websites used.

  • Presentations will be made in intensive ‘symposium tutorials’, to be held in weeks 4 & 5 and 7, 8 & 9
  • Students will book a time to present their tutorial paper by writing their name and chosen artist/object on the form circulated in tutorials or on Wattle, as applicable.
  • Papers should engage closely with the object/s under consideration; between two and six good quality digital images should be used to illustrate your paper.
  • Please test your memory stick/disk and image quality prior to your tutorial time.
  • The desired outcome is to demonstrate an ability to situate an object culturally and institutionally and in so doing raise questions for discussion by the whole group.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5

Short essay: collection analysis (1,500 words)

Compile a summary account of the motives, origins, development, contents (and, if relevant, dispersal) of a significant royal, ecclesiastical, aristocratic, private or public collection of art, scientific specimens or historical or other cultural artefacts. (It is recommended that if you are tackling a public collection you try and focus on a smaller institution such as a regional gallery or historical society, or a particularly specialised collection such as the CSIRO National Insect Collection or a restricted/specialist collection within a larger framework, such as the glass collections of the National Gallery of Victoria.)

Collections may be drawn from any period or ethnic/national tradition, inc. Australia. Comparisons should be made with other collections of the same period or which contain associated material.

The short essay will be due on:

It will be returned to you in the second week of the second teaching block.

The essay will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Presentation of a comprehensive picture of the collector and collection under consideration
  • Appropriateness and academic credibility of texts cited
  • Appropriate use of references and citation style (Chicago A).

Assessment Rubrics: An Assessment Rubric is available on Wattle.

Word limit: 1,500 words

Value: 30%

Presentation requirements: upload to Wattle via Turnitin portal

Estimated return date: 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Long essay: issues in collecting (2,500 words)

Essay topics will be made available via Wattle in week 1.

Your essay must include a bibliography, citing the sources of all quotations, paraphrases, and references to specific ideas and arguments.

The essay is due on:

Marked essays will be returned on:

Assessment Rubrics: An Assessment Rubric is attached below, and available on Wattle.

Word limit (where applicable): 2,500 words.

Value: 40%

Presentation requirements: upload to Wattle via Turnitin portal

Estimated return date: 


CriteriaFailPassCreditDistinctionHigh Distinction


Does not include a bibliography (when required)

Little knowledge of major themes

Adequate range of sources (when required)

Relies mostly on internet sites

Adequate understanding of the topic

Good range of references but missing significant sources (when required)

Good understanding of the topic and major issues

Wide range of sources, including peer reviewed articles, but missing some authors (when required)

Thorough knowledge of the major issues and perceptive analysis of major points

Thoroughly researched, consulting all the major sources, including peer reviewed journals (when required)

Sophisticated understanding of the major issues and awareness of complexities 


Lacks any argument and does not address the assessment criteria

Sound attempt to write an argument and adequately address the assessment criteria

Clearly stated argument which addresses the assessment criteria convincingly

Strong argument that presents a wide range of convincing points

Highly sophisticated and lucid argument that addresses the assessment criteria comprehensively and insightfully


Does not discuss relevant images

Includes a suitable choice of images with a basic analysis

Visual analysis integrated in a basic manner

Suitable choice of images with comprehensive visual analysis

Visual analysis successfully integrated into the overall argument

Suitable choice of images with discerning visual analysis

Visual analysis astutely integrated into the overall argument

Excellent choice of images, with highly perceptive visual analysis

Visual analysis integrated into the overall argument in a compelling and seamless manner


Little or no structure

Aimlessly rambles

Completely off topic

Adequate arrangement of ideas

Usually remains focused on the topic

Clear organisation of ideas

Good use of paragraphing

Good introduction and conclusion

Remains focused on the topic

Strong organisation

Effective use of paragraphing and topic sentences

Logical paragraphs

Effective introduction and conclusion

Excellent organisation

Extremely logical paragraphs with highly effective use of topic sentences

Engaging and highly effective introduction and conclusion


Poorly written with many spelling and grammatical errors

Adequately written essay

Usually correct grammar and spelling

Well written essay

Usually correct grammar and spelling

Fluently written essay

Minimal grammatical and spelling errors

Highly articulate and written in an eloquent style

Comprehension enhanced by grammar and spelling 

REFERENCING (when required)

Inadequate referencing

Images inadequately labeled

Adequate referencing and image labeling but with some mistakes and inconsistencies

Use of the Chicago Style Manual and footnotes

Good referencing and image labeling with few mistakes

Use of the Chicago Style Manual and footnotes

Careful referencing and image labeling with almost no mistakes

Use of the Chicago Style Manual and footnotes

Effective use of quotes

Meticulous referencing and image labeling

Use of the Chicago Style Manual and footnotes

Excellent and balanced use of quotes

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Tutorial participation

Students must attend all lectures and tutorials and participate actively in the latter. Please note that participation includes regular reading (specified in weekly reading guides and uploaded to Wattle) and contributing to tutorial discussions and/or internet forums.

Assessment Rubrics: Not applicable

Value: 10%

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Tutorial papers and essays will be graded on the Wattle site

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students who fail to obtain a passing grade, but are marked between 45 and 49%, will have the opportunity to resubmit on 19 June.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr David Hansen

Research Interests

Australian art, colonial to contemporary, with significant expertise in the areas of early 19th century painting and drawing (notably the work of John Glover and settler images of Aboriginal peoples), mid-20th century modernism, contemporary criticism and regional artists and galleries. Broader interests include demotic portraiture in Britain, the art of empire, contemporary sculpture and spatial practices, art and environment and museum practice, including artists’ interventions.

Dr David Hansen

Wednesday 15:00 17:00
Wednesday 15:00 17:00
Dr David Hansen
0412 526 053

Research Interests

Dr David Hansen

Wednesday 15:00 17:00
Wednesday 15:00 17:00

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