“That Country is my Country:” Loyalism and Maps of British America

Emily Clare Casey

"Benjamin Pickman, Sr." John Singleton Copley, ca. 1758-61, Yale University Art Gallery

In July 1783, Benjamin Pickman wrote a letter to his wife, Mary, declaring, “[T]hat Country is my Country whose Laws afford me Protection, where I am free as air, and whose Inhabitants never give me a scornful Look.”[1] Read more

Feasting the Senses

Claudia Swan

Paulus Moreelse. Portrait of a Young Woman, about 1620. Oil on panel. Art Institute of Chicago, Max and Leola Epstein Collection. Photo by Jacques Breuer.

As an art historian specialized in art of the Golden Age, I spend a lot of time thinking about the sense of sight. The exhibition Asia in Amsterdam encourages us, I think, to consider the senses more broadly than is normally the case for the Golden Age. It does so by looking beyond the visual glories of the paragons of Dutch painting Rembrandt and Vermeer, for example, and telling the story of seventeenth-century Dutch culture through objects, of which paintings are ultimately only one sort. Textiles and jewels would have been worn and invoke the sense of touch; the spices the VOC exported from Asia tickled the olfactory sense and the sense of taste, and porcelain plates and cups were used for dining, for example. We are reminded that taste is always more than what meets the eye: the very word “aesthetic” means, in Greek, “of sensation or perception,” and is not necessarily restricted to vision. Read more

Nature Into Art: Uncovering Entomology

Plate 10: Everlasting flower and Castnia from Leningrader Aquarelle / Maria Sibylla Merian, 1974

A quick history lesson shows us how the collections of the Essex County Natural History Society (founded 1833) came to reside in the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum today. The ECNH focused on collecting both literature and specimens documenting the natural wonders of Essex County, Massachusetts.  After a short life of 15 years, the ECNH merged with the Essex Historical Society to form the Essex Institute. Read more