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Title: British geological art : the development of a visual language in the formative years of the geological sciences
Author: Sleeper, Megan A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 2514
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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The interaction between the geological sciences and the arts is an area of art historical research that has gone largely unexplored. This thesis explores the role of visual materials during the formative year of the British geological sciences in the early nineteenth century. A diverse range of media including prints, books, newspaper publications, sculpture, academic painting and civic spaces provided a vehicle through which geological research could be conveyed to a variety of audiences. These audiences include academic, professional and amateur geologists, as well as artists, children, international audiences, and the greater public. This thesis will chart the development of the visual language which allowed geologists to capture their fieldwork observations and convey their theories to wider audiences. It will explore the manner in which geological art recorded the ever-changing landscape, as well as giving form to the extinct worlds of deep prehistoric time. This geological language began with timid, self-conscious attempts at geological art work which relied on long established aesthetic precedents including cartography, topography, and natural history specimen illustration. The geological visual language would evolve to project geological research to wider audiences and innovative forms of expression that were novel to the field. These innovations include geologically colored maps, subterranean projections of the earth, speculative projections of extinct animals and worlds long past, as well as three dimensional civic spaces designed to engage the public in geological educational pursuits. Not only did geologists require the aid of artists to promote their visual language, but artists, with the encouragement of John Ruskin, would look to geological research as a way of training the eye to capture scientifically accurate landscape depictions that adhere to the maxim of truth to nature. The interaction between geology and art during the early nineteenth century produced a rich body of art worthy of exploration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available