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Friday, April 29, 2011

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Anyone who has taken our Philadelphia Artists hands-on-tour has seen some of the copper plates from American Entomology by Thomas Say, which was published in 1824 by the Academy of Natural Sciences, just up the street from us.

Many of the plates are from drawings by Titian Peale, the youngest son of Charles Willson Peale. Titian grew up helping with Peale's Museum, which featured many natural history specimens, and like the rest of his family Titian was trained as an artist. His work on American Entomology combines these two loves.

The Rosenbach recently acquired a printed copy of Volumes 1 & 3 of American Entomology. Our plates are from Vol. 3, so it's wonderful to have the printed version to accompany them. We'll certainly be making use of our new books in a natural history show coming up this fall, but here are a couple of preview shots.

Here's the plate on Spectrum bivittatum,a type of walking stick.

Engraved by C. Tiebout from a drawing by Titian Peale. American Entomology: Plate 38. 1828. 2005.253.2

And here's the printed version, with beautiful hand-coloring.

Thomas Say, American Entomology. Vol. 3. Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Sciences, 1828.

Here's a plate on butterflies, which were a special interest of Titian's. The Academy of Natural Sciences preserves his collection of butterfly specimens and makes images of them available online which are well worth a look.

Engraved by C. Tiebout from a drawing by Titian Peale. American Entomology: Plate 46. 1828. 2005.253.9

And here, again, is the printed version.

Thomas Say, American Entomology. Vol. 3. Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Sciences, 1828.

My photos don't do these lovely illustrations justice, so you'll just have to come check them out for yourself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

See our Assistant Curator in a Hoopskirt

For those of you who missed last weekend's Civil War History Consortium parade (luckily, it did not actually rain during the parade, although it was quite windy), here is a slideshow of photos from the event. The first image is of Robert Hicks, the director of the Mütter Museum, decked out in his surgeon's uniform--here's to the museum contingent!

No Rosenbachers are depicted in the slideshow, but in the Youtube video below you can see me--Kathy Haas, the Rosenbach's esteemed Assistant Curator--about 20 seconds in. I'm wearing a black and white plaid dress and carrying a basket, which I used to hold my super-sized stash of CWHC and Rosenbach handouts.

Luckily in this video my dress is actually behaving--I stupidly wore a very lightweight dress and it kept blowing around and getting tangled in the hoopskirt, which I had recently lengthened. I think some hoopskirt modification may be in order before the next event...

You might also be interested in Mayor Nutter's remarks, which were a nice recap of the reasons why Philadelphia in particular should commemorate the Civil War. A big thank you to blogger Scott Manning, who kindly posted a transcript.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And the War Came

The Rosenbach started early with our Civil War 150th commemoration--our programming began on the anniversary of the election of Abraham Lincoln--but this week marked the 150th anniversary of the opening shots at Fort Sumter.

Citation: Charleston Mercury extra. Charleston, 13 April 1861. AN .C477

Join the Rosenbach and other Philadelphia-area history organizations this Saturday for a parade and living history event commemorating the departure of Philadelphia troops in response to Lincoln's call. The parade will start at 10 AM from the Constitution Center, march to Broad Street, and will proceed to Broad and Washington (the site of the train station that was used to to transport troops south), followed by living history demonstrations at the Broad and Washington site. Full details are on the Philadelphia Civil War History Consortium's CivilWarPhilly page. I'll be there with my hoopskirt on to hand out information about the CWHC and Rosenbach, so come out and join me!

We'll also be running our Civil War hands-on tour this Sunday at 3, so if you want to get up close and personal with Lincoln, Davis, Grant, and Lee, now's your chance.

In addition to our own programming, I wanted to share a few Civil War tidbits from around the web that have piqued my interest:

Do you have any favorite Civil War websites or stories that we should know about?

Friday, April 08, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Anyone else getting tired of April showers already? Complaining about the weather is a time-honored tradition, and here are some rain-themed illustrations from English comic illustrator George Cruikshank to tide you over until the sun comes out.

George Cruikshank. April from The comic almanack for 1835. London, 1835. 1954.1880.3200

George Cruikshank. Boys returning to school from Peter Parley's tales about Christmas. London: Tegg, 1839. 1954.1880.3193

George Cruikshank, untitled woodcut from George Cruikshank's table book. London, 1845. 1954.1880.2492

George Cruikshank, Entre to the Opera. Dick Wildfire & his friends going to see life among the figurantes. London: John Fairburn, 1822. 1954.1880.1461

Friday, April 01, 2011

No Fooling Around Here

Come snow or sleet or freezing rain, things keep humming along here at the Rosenbach. We've been especially busy of late since we've been installing two new exhibits at the same time!

Raving Beauty, a companion installation to Joseph Hallman's upcoming performance, is now in the Drawing Room gallery. It wasn't scheduled to open until Sunday, but we were speedy and it's already up. It includes items from the Acosta collection, including Rita Lydig's fabulous designer shoes and correspondence from Garbo, Stravinsky, and Duncan. Give yourself a gold star if you can actually decipher Isadora Duncan's handwriting--it's fascinating, but a doozy! The installation also includes quotes and interview clips from Hallman on his research and on the composing process--if you've ever wondered how our artist projects happen, here's a chance to get a glimpse.

Also on a musical note, we're working hard on installing the Grace Notes exhibit, which will open next Wednesday (April 6). This exhibit explores Sendak's relationship with music and how that is reflected in his art, including his books and his opera work. Did you know that Sendak made notes on some of his drawings of what musical piece he was listening to when he drew them? Here you can see Patrick slaving away on exhibit installation:

As you can see, our to-do list is long, but it's all such great stuff!