Thesis ID: CBB001567175

Carving Knowledge: Printed Images, Accuracy, and the Early Royal Society of London (2010)


Doherty, Meghan C. (Author)

University of Wisconsin at Madison
Hsia, Florence C.
Turner, Henry S.
Geiger, Gail L.
Hsia, Florence C.
Hutchinson, Jane C.
Turner, Henry S.
Casid, Jill H
Geiger, Gail L.
Hutchinson, Jane C.

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: Advisor: Casid, Jill H.; Committee Members: Geiger, Gail L., Hsia, Florence C., Hutchinson, Jane C., Turner, Henry S.
Physical Details: 353 pp.
Language: English

This dissertation investigates how artisans and experimenters created the visual effect of accuracy in printed images produced by and for the Royal Society of London, 1660-1680. The connections between art and science in mid-seventeenth-century London are examined through the close study of the methods used by artisans and experimenters to create images. By studying artists' manuals alongside scientific treatises, this project probes what it meant for an image to be accurate and useful for early modem natural historians and natural philosophers. The first two chapters examine 1) the visual source material used to teach young gentlemen to draw ( A Book of Drawing, Limning, Washing, or Colouring of Mapps and Prints , 1647) and 2) a manual written and illustrated by a practicing engraver (William Faithorne, The Art of Graveing and Etching , 1660). These chapters move the focus away from an apprenticeship model of learning to draw and engrave toward a self-education model that depended upon print culture. The final three chapters feature case studies that look at the different regimes of accuracy that were mobilized in order to present knowledge to a wide audience. Each case study examines a different type of mediation and the resulting regime of accuracy. Chapter three examines the effects of the mediation of the lens of the microscope and the training of an artist on the illustrations in Robert Hooke's Micrographia (1665). Chapter four brings extensive archival research to bear on the production of the plates for The Ornithology of Francis Willughby (Latin, 1676; English, 1678) to excavate the effects of accuracy produced through the mediation of the reading and collecting practices of natural historians. The final chapter shifts the focus from single-author works to the collaborative production of accuracy within the pages of the Philosophical Transactions and explores the importance of circulation of both print and manuscript images in the creation of useful knowledge. Taken together these five chapters create a historically grounded picture of the visual traces of accuracy that allowed images to be understood as authoritative and trustworthy.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 74/03(E), Sep 2013. Proquest Document ID: 1197304633.

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Authors & Contributors
Hunter, Matthew C.
Acheson, Katherine
Alexandratos, Rea
Allmon, Warren D.
Attenborough, David
Brauckmann, Sabine
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Archives of Natural History
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
Perspectives on Science
University of Chicago
Bodleian Library
Royal Collection
University of Chicago Press
University of Minnesota Press
University of Pittsburgh Press
Visual representation; visual communication
Science and art
Scientific illustration
Natural history
Hooke, Robert
Baer, Karl Ernst von
Barlow, Francis
Boccone, Paolo
Catesby, Mark
Cavendish, Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
19th century
16th century
15th century
20th century
London (England)
Great Britain
Virginia (U.S.)
Royal Society of London

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