2017 · Cambridge, Massachusetts
by Lasser, Ethan W.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Art Museums, 2017. Hardcover. NF. Color-pictorial boards; white lettering. Decorative end papers; orange place-holder ribbon. XXIV, , 284 pp. full of color and a few bw illustrations. This publication accompanies the exhibition The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard's Teaching Cabinet, 1766-1820, on view at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from May 19 through December 31, 2017, and at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 2018. This book explores the history and collections of one of the most unusual rooms in early America. Between 1766 and 1820, the Philosophy Chamber, a grand room adjacent to the Harvard College Library, was home to more than one thousand artifacts, natural specimens, and works of art dispatched to the college from points around the globe. Named for the discipline of natural philosophy, the Philosophy Chamber served as a lecture hall, experimental lab, and picture gallery. The room was frequented by an array of artists, scientists, travelers, and revolutionaries, and its collections stood at the center of artistic and intellectual life at Harvard and in the New England region for more than 50 years. Dispersed and hidden away for nearly 200 years, this unrivaled collection has been reunited for the first time since it was originally assembled, providing an invaluable window into the art and culture of early America. It attests to the wide-ranging spirit of inquiry that characterized the late 18th and early 19th centuries. With an insightful look at conservation efforts and detailed examination of specific objects, including works by artists such as John Singleton Copley and John Trumbull, this publication explores the social and political stakes that underpinned one of the most remarkable assemblages of artifacts, images, and objects in the Atlantic World, and introduces readers to many long-forgotten icons of American culture. - from the museum's web site.
(Inventory #: 163416)