Enfilade

The British Library Launches ‘Picturing Places’

Posted in resources by Editor on May 4, 2017

J. Mérigot after Louis Bélanger, View of the Bridge across the Rio Cobre near Spanish Town, Jamaica; etching, aquatint, hand colouring; published in London, 20 April 1800 (London: British Library, Maps K.Top.123.55.b). This sublime aquatint of the River Cobre in Jamaica is after a design by Louis Bélanger. It is part of a series of six. There is no record of Bélanger ever visiting Jamaica. It appears that he adapted his designs for this work and another view in the series from George Robertson’s paintings of the island, available in print from the 1770s (see BL Maps K.Top.123.54.f.). The image is included in Miles Ogborn’s article for Picturing Places: “Slavery, Freedom and the Jamaican Landscape.”

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Felicity Myrone of the British Library shares this exciting news:

The British Library is delighted to announce the launch of Picturing Places, a new free online resource which explores the Library’s extensive holdings of landscape imagery. The British Library’s huge collection of historic prints and drawings is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Picturing Places showcases works of art by well-known artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and J.M.W. Turner alongside images by a multitude of lesser-known figures. Only a few have ever been seen or published before.

Historically, the British Library’s prints and drawings have been overlooked by scholars. This is the first time that a large and important body of such materials from the Library are being brought to light. While landscape images have often been treated as accurate records of place, this website reveals the many different stories involved—about travel and empire, science and exploration, the imagination, history, and observation.

As well as over 500 newly-digitised works of art from the collection, this growing site will feature over 100 articles by both emerging and established scholars from many disciplines. Part of the British Library’s ongoing Transforming Topography research project, films from the Library’s 2016 conference exploring the depiction of place are also accessible, providing revelatory insights about the history of landscape imagery.

Additional information is available here»

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