By their nature, ephemeral publications, Auction Catalogues, particularly those produced for marketing purposes by the major auction houses to promote their sales are, generally speaking, seriously undervalued as an educational resource. This same criticism may fairly be applied, albeit to a lesser degree, to Exhibition Catalogues published by museums and others to accompany transient cultural events which they may from time to time promote.
This aspect of today’s “throw-away society” can only be viewed as highly regrettable by those who would seek to play some part, however modest, in conserving our cultural heritage. The high cost of producing such publications, together with the erudite academic content which many of them contain, renders it highly desirable, not to say imperative that the knowledge contained therein should be both preserved and dispersed as widely as possible throughout the Arts and Antiques Community.
While there is no substitute for “hands on” examination and appraisal of antiques and works-of-art, the regular study of Auction, Exhibition and Museum Catalogues will undoubtedly prove of great value in “training the eye” of the novice, whether an aspiring Auctioneer, Curator, Dealer or Collector.