The Visual Worlds of the Royal Society

Workshop, 16 – 17 July 2018, 09:30 – 16:30
Rooms SG1 & SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

The aim of this workshop is to explore the connections and networks within the wider visual worlds of the members of the early Royal Society (c. 1660-c.1710). Royal Society Fellows such as John Evelyn, Samuel Pepys, Thomas Povey, and William Aglionby were enthusiastic collectors of art, including prints, and were familiar with Continental collections and art theoretical works. They interacted frequently with printers, instrument makers and craftsmen, attended auctions, and made a point of donating portraits to the Society. How did
 first-hand experience and appreciation of art, artistic skills and collections affect the way members of the Society approached and judged images and objects of knowledge? How did their engagement with the visual worlds around them compare with their Continental counter-parts? We hope to bring together historians of science, art, collections, and print culture in order to bridge the artificial and unhelpful differentiation of ‘artist’ and ‘scientific’ images in this period.

Confirmed participants: Kate Bennett, Spike Bucklow, Andrew Burnett, Diana Detholff, Mordechai Feingold, Sietske Fransen, Rebecca Higgit, Frances Hughes, Richard Johns, Karin Leonhard, Alexander Marr, Katherine Reinhart, Henrietta McBurney Ryan, Matthew Walker.

Registration will open soon, a small number of grants for graduate students and early career scholars will be available.

Unknown artist, “A ruined temple with some pillars, as observed in a grain of sand under the microscope”, from a letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society (4 December 1703), Royal Society Archives EL/L3/56
Image © Royal Society