A. W. F. Fuller

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Alfred Fuller examining his collection.

Alfred Walter Francis Fuller FRAI (29 March 1882 – 13 December 1961) was a British anthropologist and ethnographic collector, best known for his collection of over 6,800 items from the Pacific that is now held in the Field Museum in Chicago.

Early life[edit]

Fuller was born in 1882 in Sussex to Rev. Alfred Fuller. He was educated at Dulwich College.


Fuller qualified as a solicitor but on the outbreak of World War I he joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and rose to the rank of captain[1] while serving on the Salonika Front. He saw action in Bulgaria, but by 1918 had retired on a disability pension due to ill-health.

Iuhi tattooing needles from Easter Island, donated to the Field Museum by Fuller.
HMS Resolution and Discovery in Tahiti, John Cleveley the Younger, c.1770-90. Oil on canvas, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Donated by Fuller.


Always a keen anthropologist, Fuller began collecting on a large scale after the war, principally at auctions and from closing local museums. He married Estelle Cleverly in 1924 and with her continued to develop the collection and to build up a library of more than 20,000 volumes. He volunteered at the British Museum for a time and was a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He refused throughout his life to deal in objects, and the only sale he made was in 1958, shortly before his death, when he sold more than 6,800 items from the Pacific to the Field Museum in Chicago for £40,000 (the equivalent of £857,600 as of 2018).[2][3] After his death in 1961 the rest of his collection was dispersed by his wife: the library was eventually purchased by the Bishop Museum in Hawaii.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A. W. F. Fuller Collection. The Field Museum. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  3. ^ Simpson Jr., Dale F. (May 2010). "Captain A.W. F. Fuller's Contribution to The Field Museum's Easter Island Collection" (PDF). Rapa Nui Journal. 
  • Waterfield, Herminone; King, J. C. H. (2006). Provenance: Twelve Collectors of Ethnographic Art in England 1760–1990. Paris: Somogy éditions d'art. ISBN 0-304-36333-2. 

External links[edit]

Media related to A. W. F. Fuller at Wikimedia Commons