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Edward Lovett (1852-1933) was an avid collector of amulets and objects related to customs and magic.

He wrote about them, gave talks and curated an exhibition. Many UK museums have objects from his collection.

Edward Lovett was lived in Croydon and worked in a large London bank where he became the head cashier. In his spare time he was an avid collector and he sought out, in particular, objects from the working class areas of London, as well as amulets and other objects related to popular customs and magical beliefs.

His home became filled with dolls, toys, games, superstitions, charms, amulets, mascots, and objects such as lights and shoes.

He was also fascinated by Alpine plants and is said to have made collections in Belgium and Holland. He wrote about his collection and gave lectures. During the late 1880s he was President of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society. After joining the Folklore Society in 1900, he presented talks to the Society and published papers in its journal. In 1916, he curated the exhibition 'The Folklore of London', held at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. His work 'Magic in Modern London' was published in 1925.

He donated and sold many objects to museums, including to the Horniman. Our historical file for Edward Lovett contains documents entitled ‘List of specimens’ and ‘List of things sent’ written in a flowing script, dated to 1895, 1906 and 1919. Other objects which he had collected were more recently transferred to the Horniman from other collections, such as the National Museum of Wales.

James D Sage. The Cuming Museum


1852  —  1933
Further reading
(Edward Lovett's collecting discussed in 'Edward Lovett' (Petch, ndb).)