Looking at the Collection: INKED presents works from the Museum’s permanent collection. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the diverse bounty of the New World was identified and catalogued for an eager and voracious consumer class in Europe and later in America. While, recording the New World’s flora and fauna through sketches, watercolors, notes and specimen collecting, many early naturalists produced expansive printed folios to market to affluent audiences in order to help fund future expeditions. The results of some of these efforts can be seen in Inked, featuring over 50 masterful aquatints, engravings, etchings and lithographs from the Museum’s collection. Due to their age and fragility, many of the images included in the exhibition have rarely or never been displayed.
The earliest prints in the exhibition were created by the Englishman Mark Catesby, who, with the support of the Royal Society, came to the American colonies to “observe the rarities of the country for the uses and purposes of the society.” Arguable the most famous American naturalist-artist is John James Audubon. The energy and excitement conveyed in these works was like nothing the world had seen before, and continue to astonish us to this day.
With this exhibition, we salute the depth and diversity of the Museum’s permanent collection and thank those donors and artists whose works have enriched our region.