The Art and Science of William Bartram (Hardback)
  • The Art and Science of William Bartram (Hardback)

The Art and Science of William Bartram (Hardback)

Hardback 276 Pages / Published: 14/06/2007
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William Bartram's love of nature led him to explore the environs of the American Southeast between 1773 and 1777. Here he collected plants and seeds, kept a journal of his observations of nature, and made drawings of the plants and animals he encountered. The completed drawings were sent to his patron in London, and these make up the bulk of the collection held at London's Natural History Museum.

The Art and Science of William Bartram brings together, for the first time, all sixty-eight drawings by Bartram held at the Natural History Museum, along with works by some of the most well-known natural history artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The volume explores Bartram's writings and artwork and reveals how influential he was in American science of the period. Bartram was an inspiration to a whole generation of young scientists and field naturalists. He was an authority on the birds of North America and on the lifestyle, culture, and language of the indigenous people of the regions through which he traveled. His work influenced Wordsworth, Coleridge, and other writers and poets throughout the past two hundred years, and his drawings reveal an ecological understanding of nature that only truly developed in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN: 9780271029146
Number of pages: 276
Weight: 1928 g
Dimensions: 305 x 229 x 26 mm


"This well-written, accessible, and scholarly book does a splendid job situating William Bartram in the larger context of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the rhetoric of European and American natural history."

--Randall C. Griffin, Southern Methodist University

"More slithering lowlife can be found in Judith Magee's luminous The Art and Science of William Bartram. Long before Audubon, Bartram wandered through Cherokee outposts and Florida river basins, circa 1776, filling his notebooks with quasi-surrealist renderings of bobolinks and frolicking alligators. Bartram's pictures are beautifully reproduced in Magee's volume, and she makes a good case for his scientific expertise. It's easy to see why Bartram's idiosyncratic work stoked the feverish fantasies of Coleridge and Wordsworth."

--Christopher Benfey, Slate's Best books of 2007

"Particularly valuable is the publication, in color, for the first time of all 68 drawings by Bartram held by the Natural History Museum in London as well as natural history illustrations made by Bartram's contemporaries."

--P.D. Thomas, Choice

"Using the best sources and nicely placing Bartram in the context of contemporary scientific thought, Magee provides keen insights into Bartram's life and contributions. Her work advances our understanding of the role of this important figure in the maturation of natural history studies in America and makes clear the continuing significance of his writings and drawings."

--Lester D. Stephens, Journal of Southern History

"Overall, this book is well worth reading. It is lavishly illustrated, well researched, and evocatively written."

--Angela L. Todd, Huntia

"Judith Magee, in her handsome book, The Art and Science of William Bartram, gives a delightful overview of Bartram and his contributions to the natural history of his time, especially in his pioneering drawings and watercolors, in which he portrayed behavior, habitat, and the relationships among individual species."

--Patricia Tyson Stroud, Winterthur Portfolio

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