New Books | Beastly London / Gorgeous Beasts

Posted in books by Editor on March 15, 2014

Along with these two books (the second of which I should have posted months ago), readers interested in animals may find useful the review essay by Simona Cohen, “Animal Imagery in Renaissance Art,” in Renaissance Quarterly 67 (March 2014): 164–80. -CH

From Reaktion:

Hannah Velten, Beastly London: A History of Animals in the City (London: Reaktion Books, 2013), 288 pags, ISBN: 978-1780231679, £29 / $50.

Beastly LondonHorse-drawn cabs rattling through the streets, terrified cattle being herded along congested thoroughfares to Smithfield market, pigs squealing and grunting in back yards—London was once filled with a cacophony of animal noises (and smells). But over the last thirty years, the city seems to have finally banished animals from its streets, apart from a few well-loved beasts such as the ravens at the Tower of London and the shire horses that pull the Lord Mayor’s golden coach.

Londoners once shared their homes with all kinds of animals—pets, livestock and vermin—and the streets were full of horses, cattle and the animal entertainers that performed to passers-by. Animals from all corners of the globe were imported through London’s docks and exotic beasts became popular attractions at venues such as the Zoological Gardens or lived in the private menageries of kings and naturalists. The city’s residents were entertained by performing fleas, mathematically gifted horses and dancing bears, as well as more bloodthirsty pursuits such as shooting and dog- and cockfights. In the Victorian age the city, not before time, became the birthplace of animal welfare societies and animal rights campaigns. Yet just as conditions gradually improved for the beasts of London, markets, slaughterhouses and dairies began to be moved to the suburbs, and the automobile eventually replaced the horse. The number of resident animals fell, and they are no longer a large part of everyday life in the capital—apart from a stalwart few, such as pets, pigeons and pests. Beastly London explores the complex and changing relationship between Londoners of all backgrounds and their animal neighbours, and reveals how animals helped to shape the city’s economic, social and cultural history.

Hannah Velten is a freelance writer based in Fletching, Sussex, and the author of Cow (Reaktion, 2007) and Milk (Reaktion, 2010).


Introduction: Revealing the Beasts
1. Livestock: Londoners’ Nuisance Neighbours
2. Working Animals: Straining Every Muscle
3. Sporting Animals: Natural Instincts Exploited
4. Animals as Entertainers: Performance, Peculiarity and Pressure
5. Exotic Animals: The Allure of the Foreign and the Wild
6. Pampered Pets and Sad Strays
7. London Wildlife: The Persecuted and the Celebrated
Final Thoughts: An Apology and a Pardon
Photo Acknowledgements

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From Penn State UP:

Joan B. Landes, Paula Young Lee, and Paul Youngquist, eds., Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), 258 pages, ISBN: 978-0271054018, $50.

978-0-271-05401-8mdGorgeous Beasts takes a fresh look at the place of animals in history and art. Refusing the traditional subordination of animals to humans, the essays gathered here examine a rich variety of ways animals contribute to culture: as living things, as scientific specimens, as food, weapons, tropes, and occasions for thought and creativity. History and culture set the terms for this inquiry. As history changes, so do the ways animals participate in culture. Gorgeous Beasts offers a series of discontinuous but probing studies of the forms their participation takes.

This collection presents the work of a wide range of scholars, critics, and thinkers from diverse disciplines: philosophy, literature, history, geography, economics, art history, cultural studies, and the visual arts. By approaching animals from such different perspectives, these essays broaden the scope of animal studies to include specialists and nonspecialists alike, inviting readers from all backgrounds to consider the place of animals in history and art. Combining provocative critical insights with arresting visual imagery, Gorgeous Beasts advances a challenging new appreciation of animals as co-inhabitants and co-creators of culture.

Joan B. Landes is Walter L. and Helen Ferree Professor of Early Modern History and Women’s Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. Paula Young Lee is an independent scholar and the editor of Meat, Modernity, and the Rise of the Slaughterhouse (2008). Paul Youngquist is Professor of English at the University of Colorado.


List of Illustrations
Introduction, Joan B. Landes, Paula Young Lee, and Paul Youngquist
1. Animal Subjects: Between Nature and Invention in Buffon’s Natural History Illustrations, Joan B. Landes
2. Renaissance Animal Things, Erica Fudge
3. The Cujo Effect, Paul Youngquist
4. On Vulnerability: Studies from Life That Ought Not to Be Copied, Ron Broglio
5. The Rights of Man and the Rights of Animality at the End of the Eighteenth Century, Pierre Serna, Translated by Vito Caiati and Joan B. Landes
6. Calling the Wild, Harriet Ritvo
7. Trophies and Taxidermy, Nigel Rothfels
8. Fishing for Biomass, Sajay Samuel and Dean Bavington
9. Daniel Spoerri’s Carnival of Animals, Cecilia Novero
A Conversation with the Artist Mark Dion, Joan B. Landes, Paula Young Lee, and Paul Youngquist
About the Contributors

Installation | Molly Hatch’s ‘Physic Garden’ at the High Museum

Posted in museums, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on March 15, 2014

Warm thanks to Courtney Barnes of Style Court for noting this one. More information and photos are available at her website. -CH

Press release (5 February 2014) from Atlanta’s High Museum of Art:

Two-story tall installation of 450 hand-painted plates were inspired by works in the High Museum’s Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English Ceramics


◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The High Museum of Art has commissioned contemporary ceramicist Molly Hatch to present Physic Garden, a two-story tall, hand-painted ‘plate painting’, which reinterprets works from its renowned decorative arts and design collection. On view starting March 12, the ‘plate painting’ will be installed in the High’s Margaretta Taylor Lobby and will be comprised of 456 plates featuring an original design inspired by two ca. 1755 Chelsea Factory plates from the Museum’s Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English Ceramics, which totals more than 300 works.

Molly-HatchFinal_1194The historic source plates depict realistic flora and fauna in the Chelsea ‘Hans Sloane’ style of the early 1750s. The influential Chelsea Physic Garden, a botanical garden founded by the Society of Apothecaries in London in 1673, was leased by collector Hans Sloane and likely inspired neighboring factory porcelain decorators.

The High’s installation will be the largest ever produced by Hatch. She has created other works based on source material from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Hatch also designs her own line of products for national retailers such as Anthropologie.

“I am thrilled to work with such a talented contemporary artist as Molly and to have the outcome be such a dynamic and monumental acquisition for the High. One of the most exciting aspects of ‘Physic Garden’ is seeing the historic decorative arts and design collection through the lens of a creative young artist. We can’t wait for our visitors to experience this new work as well as revisit our important and beloved collection of English ceramics,” says Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design at the High.

Hatch often sources historic works to make a contemporary counterpart, however this project marks the first time she is sourcing historic decorative arts from a museum collection to create a site-specific ‘plate painting’. To create the ‘plate painting’, Hatch digitally altered high-resolution images of the surface decoration of the source material to draft a new composition. She altered the original color, scale and composition of the Chelsea designs and then projected the new images onto 456 dinner plates (each 9.5 inches in diameter). She then hand-painted each plate using the projected image as a guide.

The complete installation will measure approximately 20 feet high by 17 feet wide. The Chelsea source plates are also on view in the High’s permanent collection Gallery 200, which patrons may visit to view the historic material. The High is acquiring the piece, which can re-installed by the Museum at future dates in smaller incarnations or in other locations.

“I encourage the viewer to see ceramics as a part of the fine art continuum—viewing plates as one would view a painting,” said Hatch. “For this installation, I’ve re-worked the surface imagery to create a new composition that reflects the historic. The artwork becomes an exploration of the relationship between the historic and the contemporary – crossing over categories of decorative art, design and fine art.”

Molly Hatch
Born in 1978, the daughter of a painter and a dairy farmer, Molly Hatch divided her childhood between physical labor, play, and creating art. She studied drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics and receiving her bachelor’s degree of fine arts from the Museum School in Boston in 2000. After several ceramic residencies and apprenticeships in the U.S. and abroad, she received her master’s degree of fine arts degree in ceramics at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2008. In 2009, she was awarded the Arts/Industry Residency in Pottery at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, which laid the foundation for her career as an artist designer. Hatch works from her home studio in Northampton, Mass., on everything from designing and illustration to one-of-a-kind pieces. Her work has been widely collected and commissioned and is exhibited nationally and internationally at art fairs and museums. Hatch’s work has also been widely licensed in partnership with Anthropologie, Galison, Chronicle, and other companies for homeware and stationery products. Her work has been featured in numerous publications from House Beautiful magazine to online publications such as Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. For the last two years, Hatch has been teaching a tableware course at Rhode Island School of Design. She also teaches ceramic and illustration workshops across the country as well as online courses through Creativebug. Her first book will be released in 2015.

The Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art (NKJ) Now Online

Posted in journal articles by Editor on March 15, 2014


◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek (NKJ) is now available online via subscription with access to all 62 volumes dating back to 1947. The online version gives this unique and high quality publication an extra dimension. NKJ, reflecting the variety and diversity of approaches to the study of Netherlandish art and culture, is now even more accessible and easy to use. Each NKJ volume is dedicated to a particular theme. The latest volume (62) is dedicated to Meaning in Materials 1400–1800. For details see www.brill.com/nkjo or contact marketing@brill.com.

%d bloggers like this: