The Getty Announces Gift of Rare Botanical Books

Posted in museums by Editor on October 24, 2013

Press release (23 October 2013) from The Getty:

Johann Christoph Volkamer 1708 From Johann Christoph Volkamer, Nürnbergische Hesperides (Nuremberg, 1708) The Getty Research Institute, 2885-927 Donated by Tania Norris

From Johann Christoph Volkamer, Nürnbergische Hesperides (Nuremberg, 1708). The Getty Research Institute, 2885-927, donated by Tania Norris.

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) announced today the acquisition of The Tania Norris Collection of Rare Botanical Books, a gift from collector Tania Norris. Assembled over the last 30 years by Ms. Norris through individual acquisitions from booksellers in the US, Europe, and Australia, the collection consists of 41 rare books that provide unparalleled insight into the contributions of natural science to visual culture in Europe from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.

Highlights of the collection include Crispin Van de Passe’s Hortus Floridus (1614), apparently the first illustrated book to apply the microscopy of magnifying lenses to botanical illustration; and Johann Christoph Volkamer’s Nürnbergische Hesperides (1708), documenting both the introduction of Italian citrus culture to Germany, and the revolution in urban planning which ensued from the parks designed for their cultivation and irrigation. Also found in the collection is a copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s Derde en laatste deel der Rupsen Begin (1717), the first book to depict insect metamorphosis, reputedly hand-colored by her daughter.

“The Getty Research Institute is deeply honored to receive the donation of the Tania Norris Collection of Rare Botanical Books from one of the founding members of our GRI Council. This gift promises to open novel paths to explore the complex historical intersections between science and art,” said Marcia Reed chief curator at the Getty Research Institute. “Tania’s passionate interests and her collecting instincts have created a very generous gift which has also served to raise the profile of an important subject with strong relevance for researchers who use our special collections.”

David Brafman, curator of rare books at the GRI, said “The Norris Collection offers inestimable rewards for scholars researching global botanical trade and the ensuing stimulus of cultural exchange to the trend of collecting curiosities spawned in Renaissance and Baroque European culture. Other books in the collection document the codependent progress of technologies in the history of medicine, pharmacology, and the color and textile industries from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. No less important are the opportunities to study the complex artistic relationship between physiognomy and ‘naturalism’ in visual representation, as well as developments in urban planning and landscape architecture. Ms. Norris’ generous donation enhances significantly GRI’s existing collections in such subjects and promises to transform  the way art historians examine the past in the future.”

In particular, the unique hand-colored copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s Der Rupsen Begin (Birth of the Butterfly) from the Norris Collection will find a companion in the GRI vaults: Merian’s stunning Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam (1719), the self-published book which documented the watercolors, drawings, and scientific studies she executed and conducted while exploring the wildlife of the South American jungles. The GRI copy was featured prominently in the Getty Museum’s exhibition, Merian and Daughters, which celebrated the extraordinary pioneering contributions of the artist-naturalist, the first European woman to travel to America expressly for artistic purposes.

The Norris Collection will also prove an invaluable complement for research in landscape- and still-life painting, as well as mention the insights it will provide to conservators and conservation scientists about recipes and global trade in color-pigments and other preparations in the decorative arts.

In addition to being a founding member of the Getty Research Institute Collections Council, Ms. Norris also serves on the J. Paul Getty Museum Disegno Drawing Council and Paintings Conservation Council.

“It was one of the proudest moments of my life when the Getty Research Institute accepted my books for their library. I never collected expecting anyone else to think my books of interest, “ said Ms. Norris. “But now at the GRI, anyone can view them; some have been or will soon be in exhibitions and programs. More importantly, they will be preserved for generations to come. You don’t need much money, just passion to collect, and you just never know what treasures you may have.”

Much of the collection has been on deposit at the GRI and available to researchers; the remaining materials will be cataloged and available by the end of year

New Book | Slavery and the British Country House

Posted in books by Editor on October 24, 2013

From English Heritage, with free download (admirably!) available:

Madge Dresser and Andrew Hann, eds., Slavery and the British Country House (English Heritage, 2013), 180 pages, ISBN: 978-1848020641, £50. Available for free download at English Heritage»

Slavery-British-Country-HouseThe British country house has long been regarded as the jewel in the nation’s heritage crown. But the country house is also an expression of wealth and power, and as scholars reconsider the nation’s colonial past, new questions are being posed about these great houses and their links to Atlantic slavery.

This book, authored by a range of academics and heritage professionals, grew out of a 2009 conference on Slavery and the British Country House: Mapping the Current Research organised by English Heritage in partnership with the University of the West of England, the National Trust and the Economic History Society. It asks what links might be established between the wealth derived from slavery and the British country house and what implications such links should have for the way such properties are represented to the public today.

Lavishly illustrated and based on the latest scholarship, this wide-ranging and innovative volume provides in-depth examinations of individual houses, regional studies and critical reconsiderations of existing heritage sites, including two studies specially commissioned by English Heritage and one sponsored by the National Trust.

In order to improve access to this research, a complete copy of the text is free to download from English Heritage.

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List of contributors
Notes on measurements

1. Nicholas Draper, Slave ownership and the British country house: the records of the Slave Compensation Commission as evidence

2. Madge Dresser, Slavery and West Country houses

3. Jane Longmore, Rural retreats: Liverpool slave traders and their country houses

4. Roger H. Leech, Lodges, garden houses and villas: the urban periphery in the early modern Atlantic world

5. Simon D. Smith, Slavery’s heritage footprint: links between British country houses and St Vincent, 1814–34

6. Nuala Zahedieh, An open elite? Colonial commerce, the country house and the case of Sir Gilbert Heathcote and Normanton Hall

7. Sheryllynne Haggerty and Susanne Seymour, Property, power and authority: the implicit and explicit slavery connections of Bolsover Castle and Brodsworth Hall in the 18th century

8. Laurence Brown, Atlantic slavery and classical culture at Marble Hill and Northington Grange

9. Victoria Perry, Slavery and the sublime: the Atlantic trade, landscape aesthetics and tourism

10. Natalie Zacek, West Indian echoes: Dodington House, the Codrington family and the Caribbean heritage

11. Caroline Bressey, Contesting the political legacy of slavery in England’s country houses: a case study of Kenwood House and Osborne House

12. Cliff Pereira, Representing the East and West India links to the British country house: the London borough of Bexley and the wider heritage picture

13. Rob Mitchell and Shawn Sobers, Reinterpretation: the representation of perspectives on slave trade history using creative media


Fellowships | American Art and Visual Culture at the Smithsonian

Posted in fellowships by Editor on October 24, 2013

Smithsonian American Art Museum Research Fellowships
Washington, D.C.

Applications due by 15 January 2014

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery invite applications for research fellowships in art and visual culture of the United States. A variety of predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior fellowships are available. Fellowships are residential and support independent and dissertation research. The stipend for a one-year fellowship is $30,000 for predoctoral fellows or $45,000 for senior and postdoctoral fellows, plus generous research and travel allowances. The standard term of residency is twelve months, but terms as short as three months will be considered; stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months. Deadline: January 15, 2014. Contact: Amelia Goerlitz, Fellowship Office, American Art Museum, AmericanArtFellowships@si.edu. For more information and a link to the online application for the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program, please visit our website. Applicants should propose a primary advisor from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to be eligible for a fellowship at this unit.

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