"It is true, the spoken word enlightens both the spirit and the soul. Indeed, the HENDRICK’S Master Distiller can often be heard talking at length to her ‘two little sweeties’ – the delightful and peculiarly small copper pot stills from which the most unusual gin flows."

Illustrated lecture by Daniel Margócsy, Hunter College, New York

25th July 2013
Doors at 6:30 / Talk begins at 7:00 pm
Ticket price £7

This talk argues that the creative imagination played a crucial role in the development of science during the scientific revolution. Modern, natural knowledge emerged from the interaction of painters, printmakers, artisans, cartographers, and natural historians. All these practitioners carefully observed, pictured and cataloged all the exotic naturalia that flooded Europe during the Columbian exchange. Yet their collaboration did not end there. They also engaged in a joint, conjectural guesswork as to what other, as yet unknown plants and animals might hide in the forests of New England, the archipelago of the Caribbean, the unfathomable depths of the Northern Sea, or even in the cavernous mountains of the Moon. From its beginnings, science was (and still is) an imaginative and speculative enterprise, just like the arts. This talk traces the exchange of visual information between the major artists of the Renaissance and the leading natural historians of the scientific revolution. It shows how painters’ and printmakers’ fictitious images of unicorns, camels and monkfish came to populate the botanical and zoological encyclopedias of early modern Europe. The leading naturalists of the age, including Conrad Gesner, Carolus Clusius and John Jonstonus, constantly consulted the oeuvre of Dürer, Rubens and Hendrick Goltzius, among others, as an inspiration to hypothesize how unknown, and unseen, plants and animals might look like.

Daniel Margocsy
Daniel Margocsy is assistant professor of history at Hunter College – CUNY. In 2012/3, he is the Birkelund Fellow of the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He has co-edited States of Secrecy, a special issue of the British Journal for the History of Science on scientific secrecy, and published articles in the Journal of the History of Ideas, Annals of Science, and the Netherlands Yearbook of Art History.

The Last Tuesday Society is honoured to house this exhibition and lecture series cultivated in collaboration with Joanna Ebenstein of the rightfully venerated 'Morbid Anatomy' Library, Museum & Blog.

Talks take place at The Last Tuesday Society at 11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP - please click here to buy tickets