Edward Lovett

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Edward Lovett (1852–1933) was an English folklorist, recognised for his collections of charms, amulets, and objects used in children's games.

He was born in Islington and lived in Outram Road, Croydon, later residing in Caterham, and is reported to have worked as a chief cashier at branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the City of London. Lovett spent his spare time collecting, writing, and lecturing on folk-lore, usually focussed on objects he had collected on his walks around London, Sussex and Surrey.

He also reports having made collections in Belgium and Holland. His exhibitions in England and Wales were reviewed in the national press, some becoming permanent exhibits, and donated many objects to the Pitt Rivers Museum between 1896 and 1911.[1] He corresponded with many museum curators and collectors, including Henry Wellcome. The exhibition 'Folklore of London', curated by Lovett, was held at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum in 1916.[2]

During the late 1880s he functioned as President of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society. After joining the Folklore Society in 1900, he presented it with talks and published papers in its Journal. Lovett did not venture into theorising on folklore, confining his research to the collection of talismans and other objects with superstititious claims. A major work, Magic in Modern London, was published in 1925. An earlier work, self-published, is "How to Make A Rock Garden and Grow Alpine Plants", not dated, but presumably around 1900.

Edward Lovett's donations can be found in many museums, including the Cuming Museum in Southwark, the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford, the V&A Museum of Childhood, and the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh (on long term loan from the National Museum of Wales).

An exhibition Charmed Life: The solace of objects held at the Wellcome Collection from 6 October 2011 to 26 February 2012, displayed many of Lovett's amulets alongside contemporary films and medals by artist and curator Felicity Powell.


“The Modern Commercial Aspect of an Ancient Superstition” in Folklore volume 13, (1902), pp. 340–346

Fetish Worship in Central Africa, Folklore Vol.XIV No.1 (March 1903)

The Whitby Snake-Ammonite Myth, Folklore Vol.XVI No.3 (September 1905)

Veterinary Leechcraft, Folklore Vol.XVI No.3 (September 1905)

A Scheme for a Folk Museum, Museums Journal (March 1906)

Superstitions and Survivals amongst Shepherds” in Folklore volume 20, (1909). pp. 64–70.

Amulets from Costers’ Barrows in London, Rome, and Naples in Folklore volume 20, (1909), pp. 70–71.

Magic in Modern London, (Folklore Society) 1925



  1. ^ Petch, Alison. "Edward Lovett". web.prm.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  2. ^ "Edward Lovett". 2014-09-01. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  • Alison Petch, Edward Lovett 'The Other Within' project, Pitt Rivers Museums

Further reading[edit]