The letters of Edward Lovett

Edward Lovett was a collector of amulets in 1920's London. As part of my research into amulets, I was able to view his actual letters to CJS Thompson, an agent of Henry Wellcome whose job it was to buy artifacts for the Wellcome Collection.

The letters are kept safely in a paper file tied with a white ribbon in the stores of the Wellcome Collection. Lovett's letters are all handwritten in his wonderfully expressive handwriting, whilst Thompson's replies are all typed on a typewriter. The type writer paper is very fine and can be seen through. Amongst the letters are postcards and short notes adding up totals for the sale of amulets. In places there are rust marks where a paper clip has been. The letters include discussions of sales of amulets between Lovett and Thompson, agreeing prices. It is interesting to think of amulets as commodities with a price attached, when their value lies mostly with the owner as a very personal item.

Postcard showing Thompson's address at the Wellcome Museum
The letters often begin with polite comments on health and the weather. However there appears to have been a disagreement where Lovett displayed some of his collection of amulets at the Cuming Museum as well as the Wellcome. Lovett put on an exhibition at the Wellcome, 'Folk Lore of London' and some of the letters include edits to the pamphlet for the exhibition for Thompson to agree.

Card showing Lovett's signature 
Lovett describes a cure for whooping cough which he was told by an old woman. She said if one cuts the hair from the back of the child's neck and puts it between two slices of bread and butter, and feed to a dog, the disease will pass from the child to the dog.

Letter from Lovett arranging the sale of twenty horse amulets 

Lovett also describes St Brigid's crosses which were hung over doors and above beds to protect the family; after St Bridgid's day they would be burned and replaced with new ones. Lovett states that St Brigid was originally as sun goddess and the crosses are solar symbols.