Object Lessons  The Visualisation of Nineteenth-Century Life Sciences

By George Loudon, with a text by Robert McCracken Peck and Loudon in conversation with Lynne Cooke
Ridinghouse 2015
£24.95  |  $36

30 × 24.5 cm  |  11 3/4 × 9 5/8 in
256 pp, 264 colour ill
ISBN: 978 1 909932 10 4

Offering a unique perspective on the intersection of art and science, the historic curiosities in this collection reveal their creators’ remarkable capacity for artistic expression.

Assembling nearly 200 pieces from the collection of George Loudon, the volume encompasses a vast assortment of objects relating to nineteenth-century life sciences. Originally designed to capture the complex structures of nature, they range from books and illustrations to botanical specimens and anatomical models.


Having lost most of their original pedagogical function over time, the objects are now open for contemporary reappraisal; acquiring new values that can inspire, seduce and even disorientate today’s viewer.


Alongside new photography by Rosamond Purcell, explanatory texts on the objects by Loudon, an essay by Robert McCracken Peck, and a conversation between Loudon and Lynne Cooke together offer insight into the objects’ original context and potential for new perspectives.

Lynne Cooke is Senior Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. George Loudon is a collector and patron based in London. Robert McCracken Peck is Curator of Art and Artifacts and Senior Fellow at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Philadelphia. Rosamond Purcell is a photographer whose work often engages with the museum and the nature of collecting.

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