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Academic & Professional Books  Reference  Collections Management  Museology

Photography, Natural History and the Nineteenth-Century Museum Exchanging Views of Empire

By: Kathleen Davidson(Author)
241 pages, 8 plates with 9 b/w photos and 1 colour illustration; 80 b/w photos & b/w illustrations
Publisher: Ashgate
Photography, Natural History and the Nineteenth-Century Museum
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  • Photography, Natural History and the Nineteenth-Century Museum ISBN: 9781472431295 Hardback Mar 2017 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
Price: £135.00
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The Victorian era heralded an age of transformation in which momentous changes in the field of natural history coincided with the rise of new visual technologies. Concurrently, different parts of the British Empire began to more actively claim their right to being acknowledged as indispensable contributors to knowledge and the progress of empire. Photography, Natural History and the Nineteenth-Century Museum addresses the complex relationship between natural history and photography from the 1850s to the 1880s in Britain and its colonies: Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, India. Coinciding with the rise of the modern museum, photography's arrival was timely, and it rapidly became an essential technology for recording and publicising rare objects and valuable collections. Also during this period, the medium assumed a more significant role in the professional practices and reputations of naturalists than has been previously recognized, and it figured increasingly within the expanding specialized networks that were central to the production and dissemination of new knowledge. In an interrogation that ranges from the first forays into museum photography and early attempts to document collecting expeditions to the importance of traditional and photographic portraiture for the recognition of scientific discoveries, Photography, Natural History and the Nineteenth-Century Museum not only recasts the parameters of what we actually identify as natural history photography in the Victorian era but also how we understand the very structure of empire in relation to this genre at that time.


List of Illustrations

      Rethinking the Role of Photography in Victorian Natural History
      Emerging Sites of Production: A Comparative Approach
      Formative Visions of Empire
      Exchanging Views of Empire
      From ‘Immutable Mobiles’ to ‘Boundary Objects’
      Making and Moving Images
      Peripatetic Objects of Empire and Collections at the Periphery
      Navigating the Archive
Chapter 1 – Paper Museums: Photography and Natural History at the British Museum
      From Institutional Priorities to Imperial Interests
      A Virtual Inventory of Specimens: Circulating New Knowledge and Filling in the Gaps
      Private Operators and Entrepreneurs
Chapter 2 – Museum Traffic: Naturalist Correspondents and the Advent of Photography in the Colonial Museum
      From German Settler to Cosmopolitan Scholar: Colonial Masculinity and the Rise of the Self-made Man
      Naturalist Correspondents, Photography and the Reframing of Natural History
      Expeditionary Photography and the ‘New Traveller’s Tales’
Chapter 3 – The Rhetoric of Exemplarity: Portraiture and the Naturalist as Celebrity
      Gentleman Amateurs and Professional Bodies: The Social Formation of Victorian Science
      The Naturalist Refashioned
Chapter 4 – Nature as Spectacle: Encountering the Moa from Christchurch to Madras via London and Paris
      The Origin of the Natural History Collections at the Canterbury Museum
      A New Era of the Museum Begins: The Debate over Order versus Spectacle
      Portraits and the Press: The Colonial Naturalist as Publicist


Customer Reviews


Kathleen Davidson teaches art history at the University of Sydney. Her recent publications include Colonial Science and Photographic Portraits in Judy Annear (ed.), The Photograph and Australia (AGNSW Press, 2015); Connecting the Senses: Natural History and the British Museum in the Stereoscopic Magazine, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century (2014); Speculative Viewing: Victorians' Encounters with Coral Reefs in Grace Moore and Michelle Smith (eds.), Victorian Environments (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming); and Photography and the Triumph of Science in European Vision and the South Pacific in Jaynie Anderson and Christopher Marshall (eds.), The Multiple Legacies of Bernard Smith (Power Publications & AGNSW Press, 2016). Previously, she was Curator of International Photography at the National Gallery of Australia.

By: Kathleen Davidson(Author)
241 pages, 8 plates with 9 b/w photos and 1 colour illustration; 80 b/w photos & b/w illustrations
Publisher: Ashgate
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