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.