Jul 17, 2018

SCIENCE MADE VISIBLE: DRAWINGS, PRINTS, OBJECTS 2 JULY 2018 – 30 NOVEMBER 2018 THE ROYAL SOCIETY, 6-9 CARLTON HOUSE TERRACE LONDON SW1Y 5AG


Historic fossils from Agostino Scilla’s collection within the Sedgwick Museum’s Woodwardian cabinets are currently on display in the Royal Society’s summer exhibition in London. Called ‘Science made Visible: Drawings, Prints, Objects’, the exhibit explores the questions of how and when science become visual; how drawings, diagrams and charts came to be used alongside words and objects; who made them and what made them scientific?

Category: General
Posted by: Sarah

Historic fossils from the Sedgwick Museum are currently on display in the Royal Society’s summer exhibition in London. The specimens have been selected from one of the Museum’s greatest treasures – the Agostino Scilla collection, housed within the Woodwardian cabinets that were the foundation of the Museum in 1728. 
Called ‘Science made Visible: Drawings, Prints, Objects’, the exhibit explores the questions of how and when science become visual; how drawings, diagrams and charts came to be used alongside words and objects; who made them and what made them scientific?
The Sicilian painter Agostino Scilla (1629-1700) was not only a well known and accomplished painter of religious subjects but also a pioneering naturalist. Scilla used his skills as an artist to show that fossils from the sedimentary strata of southern Italy compared closely with living forms from the Mediterranean. But he also showed how the processes of fossilisation could alter their form. His beautifully illustrated book ‘La Vana Speculazione Disingannata Dal Senso’, published in 1670 made a powerful demonstration of the argument that fossils are the remains of once living organisms. The value of Scilla’s work was eventually recognised in Britain when the book was reviewed in the Transactions of the Royal Society (1695-7, volume 19, p. 181, 199) along with copies of some of his illustrations.
Following Scilla’s death in 1700, the London physician and dilettante collector Dr John Woodward (1665-1728) bought Scilla’s fossil collection along with the fossil drawings, which were engraved to illustrate his book. Altogether, they represent a unique historic collection of documents and one of the Sedgwick Museum’s most important treasures. The Scilla collection can now be explored on a digital interactive in the Museum thanks to an innovative digitisation project led by Collections Manager Dan Pemberton aided by the Arts Council England Designation Development Fund.
Douglas Palmer, Sedgwick Museum
The Royal Society ‘Science made Visible’ exhibit is curated by the ‘Making Visible’ research project at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities in the University of Cambridge led by Professor Sachiko Kusukawa.

Photos:
Scilla’s remarkably accurate original graphite drawing of the specimen, which subsequently suffered some damage.
Agostino Scilla’s rock specimen containing fossil dolphin teeth.


Oct 19, 2018

On the 26th of February, 1918 the hospital ship HMHS Glenart Castle left Newport, South Wales, heading for Brest in France. On board were 63 nurses, medical orderlies and officers, along with its crew and 99 wounded patients. One of the medical officers on board was the 49 year-old Captain Lewis Moysey RAMC, a graduate of Caius College and very keen amateur geologist who donated a substantial collection of Carboniferous fossils to the Sedgwick Museum.


Sep 24, 2018

On Sunday September 9th Google’s banner headline in Australia (https://g.co/doodle/ytbdqa ) celebrated the 111th birthday of a palaeontologist – the late  Dorothy Hill (1907-1997).