Sachiko Kusukawa’s research

Francis Willughby, De Historia Piscuim, frontispiece. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. Paul van Somer was paid by the Royal Society £4 for engraving the 'frontispiece plate' on 2 December 1685.

I am currently interested in the variety of pictorial practices of the Royal Society, under which I include:

  • editorial practices of the Philosophical Transactions
  • collaborative efforts that went into producing the Historia Piscium
  • Fellows’ involvement in other society-sponsored illustrated printed books and the process of publication
  • the making and giving of portraits of Fellows and other figures to the Society
  • the furnishing of the meeting room in the Royal Society
  • Fellows’ connoisseurship and their art (and print) collections
  • Fellows’ ability (or inability) to draw, engrave, etch and limn
  • Fellows’ understanding of contemporary art theory, in particular, the ‘miniatura’ tradition
  • Fellows’ relationships with draughtsmen, engravers and printers
  • Fellows’ interest in, and use of, colours, pigments, dye-stuff, and the ‘history of trades’

These aspects suggest a heterogeneous set of practices not necessarily practised by every Fellow of the Society. This complicates the task of understanding what a ‘collaborative’ or ‘collective’ method of visual practice might entail within a collective institution for natural knowledge.

My publications in this area are:

“Picturing Knowledge in the Early Royal Society: The Examples of Richard Waller and Henry Hunt.” Notes and Records of the Royal Society 65 (2011): 273-94.

“The Historia Piscium (1686).” Notes and Records of the Royal Society 54.2 (2000): 179-97.

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