Collections may be as individual as their owners—as revealing as an autobiography. The Guennol Collection began in 1947 when the Alastair Bradley Martins became enamoured of a few objects unlike any they had previously assembled.
The Martins have not concentrated on any specialized field of collecting nor are they followers of fashionable trends. They find excitement in assimilating man's artistic achievements through an examination of the arts of bygone civilizations and they have sharpened their wits in an effort to appreciate the creative work of our own time. That so outstanding a collection has been assembled within only a short time gives both of them great personal satisfaction. The rare, beautiful, extraordinary items that form this collection—unique in the annals of collecting—are the result of the Martins' perspicacity and perseverance. They love the game of collecting. Their selectivity, without the usual prejudices and limitations of most collectors, has resulted in the acquisition of about one hundred objects of such quality that they are proudly exhibited as long term loans in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
This catalogue, the result of lay and professional enthusiasm, has been in preparation concurrently with the growth of the Guennol Collection. It will stand as a landmark of the ingenuity of its sponsors in an era when collecting is fraught with difficulties and challenges.