Meet Our Curators: William Coleman and Amy Hopwood

William L. Coleman, Ph.D. is Associate Curator of American Art.

What is your role here at the Museum? 

My focus is on the world-class colonial and nineteenth-century American collections, with a particular interest in landscape painting. In addition, I am assisting Curator of American Art Tricia Laughlin Bloom with the catalogue Arc of Abstraction and the overhaul of our modern and contemporary galleries. Day to day, I conduct research on both objects we already own and potential acquisitions that could fill gaps in the collection. In addition, I assist scholars and members of the public with inquiries about early American objects and represent the Newark Museum to the wider museum and academic communities

What makes your work at the Museum important?

This institution has one of the most important collections of early American art in the world. As a result, this part of the collection is the subject of frequent inquiries from a wide range of constituencies, including other institutions who hope to borrow our works for temporary exhibitions.

What projects are you working on currently and long-term?

My immediate priorities are to devote more attention to our still life and genre paintings, hugely important in their period but often overlooked here because the major landscape holdings demand so much attention. In the longer term, I am laying the groundwork for a variety of projects that relate to my piece of the collections, including an idea for a show on global art colony movements.

Where is your favorite place to have lunch in Newark?

La Cocina on New Street for delicious Cuban food.

Do you have a favorite collection piece? 

My current favorite is Albert Bierstadt’s intimate but virtuosic Sunshine and Shadow, now on view in gallery N115. This intimate work in oil on paper mounted on canvas is very different, both in its subject and scale, from those people might expect from the artist. His virtuosic handling of light in this beautiful little painting urges greater attention to the technique at work in his sweeping Western views, not just the big ideas that technique was used to convey.

Amy Hopwood, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts

What is your role at the museum?

For me, being a curator means developing, protecting, researching, exhibiting and promoting the Decorative Arts collections to the Newark Museum members, to the public and to students and scholars. Each day brings the possibility of a new inquiry; an offer of a donation; discussion with the Registrar’s department about cataloging, storing, conserving, lending or displaying the collection; or speaking with the Exhibitions and Education departments and docents about interpretation. All of these discussions give me opportunities to study the objects within the Decorative Arts collection, in order to know them better and build a foundation for all the other projects connected to the collection.

What is your background?

During college, I interned at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and created my own project to catalog and research historic clothing discovered in the Amherst College Theater Department’s costume collection. The 19th- and 20th-century clothing had been donated and used as theater costumes over the years.

What’s important to know about curating decorative arts?

I studied at the Winterthur Program in Delaware, where I learned how to handle and study objects and discovered what questions to ask about them: What do the materials, construction and decoration of an object reveal about the people and culture that made it? What was the original use and how might that have changed over time? Given these layers of meaning, what stories can the object describe to a museum visitor? I applied these questions as Curator for Costumes and Textiles at the San Diego Historical Society. I look forward to applying these ideas to the Decorative Arts collection here at the Newark Museum.

What makes your work at the Museum important?

I mentioned the Registrar’s department in the first question. We work together as a team for all the behind-the-scenes work to bring objects into the collection, store them safely, and exhibit them here or through loans to other museums. I see all of my work as part of a machine with lots of interconnected parts. I enjoy discussing projects with all of the curators so that we can intertwine objects and ideas across all of the collections. I also work with the Exhibition, Education, Publications & Marketing, and Members’ departments to insure that all of the exhibitions, docent tours, school tours and public programs integrate my curatorial research with the interpretive approaches used by the educators, docents and Junior Explorers.

What projects are you working on currently and long-term?

Currently I am developing two exhibitions based upon a collection of French couture jewelry and a collection of 1920s and 1930s art glass. Both exhibition will have their own theme, but I want to introduce the visitor to how the objects were made, what the materials and designs reveal about their makers and time, and provide a connection to the Newark Museum’s connections. The visitor might also see their own glass and jewelry in a new way.

Where is your favorite place to have lunch in Newark?

I have a special fondness for diners, so I’ll name Central Restaurant and The Deluxe Diner as my favorites

Do you have a favorite collection object?

This is a tough question as there are so many incredible choices. Even though it is not in the Decorative Arts collection, Gold Cakra Lamp by the Korean artist, Choe U-Ram (2014.1) is high on my list. I love the designs created by the moving parts, how it is influenced by the viewer’s motions, and the feeling of calm that the visual patterns and movement creates. With all of the interruptions and multitasking of today, I love to stand and look at this artwork, soaking up its beauty and peacefulness.


June 11, 2018 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Decolonizing the Museum, Part Two


Wendy Red Star. Winter, 2006. From the series The Four Seasons. Archival pigment print on sunset fiber rag, 23 x 26 in. Gift of Loren G. Lipson, MD, 2016 2016.46.1.3. ©Wendy Red Star

In October 2017, Art in America devoted an entire issue to Native American art, and the Newark Museum was invited to contribute to this national conversation. Along with distinguished curators and leaders from museums throughout the United States and Canada, Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Ph. D., Newark’s Curator of American Art since 2015, was asked to discuss practices and policies for decolonizing museums. The full roundtable includes contributions by Wanda Nanibush (Art Gallery of Ontario), Karen Kramer (Peabody Essex Museum), Ben Garcia (San Diego Museum of Man), Lara M. Evans (Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe), as well as Bloom, and is recommended reading for all concerned with access and equity in museums. It can be read here.   Here’s the excerpted transcript of Tricia Bloom’s contribution:

Museums tell stories. The older and more diverse a museum’s collection, the fuller the stories it can tell—but only if the collection is used wisely. As purveyors of culture, museums always risk falling into patterns—telling familiar stories, one-sided stories. It is not enough to collect with a broad and democratic mission, as the Newark Museum has done for more than one hundred years. Rich holdings of Native American art—or the art of any non-hegemonic group—do not benefit anyone if the works remain in storage. It is critical to find ways to put objects into thoughtful contexts. The vitality of the objects, which come to life when placed within a larger visual exchange, and the attention of the visitors, who grow weary of the same tired scripts, depend on it.

In 2016 the Newark Museum relocated its Native American collection from a tuck-away space to a central gallery on the ground floor, at the intersection of the Decorative Arts, Asian Art, and American Art galleries, steering our visitors toward the new conversations we want to have about the Museum’s global collections. Titled “Native Artists of North America,” this long-term installation presents a selection of rarely exhibited historical objects, which have been taken from storage, studied, treated, and reinterpreted. They are arranged with ample space and light, allowing visitors to get up close to the materials, and reflect the experience of six different curators, including five leading indigenous artists and scholars from around the country. “Native Artists” becomes, in effect, the way into Seeing America, Newark’s recently reconceived display of American art, featuring Indigenous art—historical, modern, and contemporary—installed through the chronological narrative.

While the basic story of Seeing America may look familiar, the museum has intentionally made the aesthetic equivalent of large demographic shifts in these galleries over the past two years. The reconfigured long-term exhibition integrates works of Latin American, African American, and Indigenous art—largely pulled from storage—into the overall history of American art. The ongoing challenge is to continue to build the collection in underrepresented areas and to make the acquired works part of the public stories we tell.

The Newark Museum is organizing a solo exhibition featuring new work by Portland-based artist Wendy Red Star, (Apsáalooke) Crow; Opening February, 2019.


December 12, 2017 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

Decolonizing the Museum, Part One

Kay WalkingStick. Me and My Neon Box

Kay WalkingStick. Me and My Neon Box, 1971. Acrylic on canvas, 54 x 60 in. Newark Museum purchase, 2017. ©Kay WalkingStick

In honor of Native American Heritage Honth we’re highlighting a new acquisition, a major early work by Kay WalkingStick, Me and My Neon Box, 1971. An enrolled member of the Cherokee nation, throughout her long and celebrated career WalkingStick has advocated that Native American art is American art. Newark’s collecting has followed this integrative model from the beginning, and so we continue in the 21st century. This vibrant, large-scale painting—the 4th work by WalkingStick to enter the collection—will be a highlight of our expanded Pop Art gallery, opening in February 2019, part of a comprehensive reinstallation of the Seeing America galleries funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

neon box

Kay WalkingStick, circa 1971. ©Kay WalkingStick

Me and My Neon Box celebrates the feminine subject as powerful and erotically charged. Both playful and political, this work feels as relevant now as it did when it was painted at the birth of the feminist movement some 50 years ago.  Using her own naked body as a model WalkingStick painted contours and shadows in a hard-edge style that pops and glows with a saturated candy colored palette. It’s worth noting that in modern art in general—and especially in Pop Art—representations of women painted by women were rare and radical enough that WalkingStick experienced censorship in her efforts to show these works in the 1970s.

Me and My Neon Box is currently traveling in the retrospective Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist.  The final stop for this nationally touring exhibition will be the Montclair Art Museum February 3-June 18, 2018.

– Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Curator of American Art


November 29, 2017 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Cutting Films: Earth Dog Year Celebrated with Presentation of Short Films

2018 is the Earth Dog Year in the Tibetan astronomical calendar. February 16th, the beginning of the new moon, marks the first day of the new year. Happy New Year!

To celebrate this occasion, the Newark Museum is pleased to present once again five short films that are excerpts of footage shot by C. Suydam Cutting, a wealthy sportsman, naturalist, and adventurer, who traveled to Tibet in the Iron Horse Year (1930), the Wood Pig Year (1935), and the Fire Ox Year (1937). On his numerous expeditions, mostly sponsored by prominent museums in the United States, Cutting and his colleagues collected remarkable examples of the flora and fauna. He also took countless photographs and made several motion pictures of some, but not all, of these travels.



Boy drumming: 17:32 (Yunnan and Szechuan)

Musical Arts of Asia celebrates music through the images of men and women singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments. Together, they reveal the disparate, dynamic, and melodic traditions of the peoples of Tibet and of the Szechuan and Yunnan Provinces of China. Many of the images come from receptions given in honor of Mr. Cutting and his party at the King’s palace in Muli (now Sichuan Province) (1928), the Panchen Lama’s monastery and palace in Shigatse (1935), or the Prime Minister’s house in Lhasa (1935). This short film also includes images of a funeral procession in Tali Fu in Yunnan Province (1928). It accompanies an installation of 25 works – prints, paintings, ivories, lacquer objects, and musical instruments – from China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, and Tibet, currently on display in the Newark Museum’s Asian Galleries.


Women at the well: 38:30 (To Lhasa and Shigatse)

The Forbidden Cities of Tibet highlights the sights that Cutting and his entourage found in Gyantse, Shigatse, and Lhasa. To quote Cutting, “these fantastic cities slumbering in medieval tranquility,” with “a landscape well-nigh unrivalled for grandeur,” were inhabited by “one of the most attractive people on earth.” Marketplaces and monasteries, humble homes and grand residences are all showcased.

Nomad and Tent

Nomad in front of tent with mountain in background: 50:28 (To Lhasa and Shigatse)

Villagers, Farmers, and Nomads emphasizes the “unique” agriculture that Cutting noted on his first trip to Tibet in 1930. On the southern steppes of the Tibetan plateau, Cutting observed that many products were used not for human consumption but rather for the horses, cows, and yaks (who in turn supported the human population). Another significant group of Tibetans, however, were herders who “wander here and there across the windy plateau, leading their hardy nomadic lives.” Cutting stated, “Tibet is remarkably fortunate in its good health, its lack of overpopulation, and its ample and regular food supply.”

Boat on river

Boat on the Brahmaputra: 23:02 (To Lhasa and Shigatse)

In 1928 Cutting traveled with a group through Burma to Bhamo, “the last British outpost of civilization,” and then over the mountains to Yunnan Province, “a landscape of wide rolling valleys, circled by gaunt mountain ranges.” There he encountered several of what he exoticized as The Mystery Rivers of Asia. “The five great ‘mystery rivers’ of Tibet,” Cutting wrote, “tried to find their way southward through the Himalayas to the sea. The Irrawaddy, the Mekong, the Brahmaputra, and the Salween succeeded, but the frustrated Yangtze, flowing southward in orderly fashion like the others, found its path blocked… so there was nothing for it to do but go back northward in another channel.” In this short film, Cutting captured the adventure of crossing these rivers using a variety of vessels.

Cutting Map 2

From C. Suydam Cutting, The Fire Ox and Other Years (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940, 1947).

Since its introduction in the 7th century, Buddhism has played a major role in the artistic, cultural, social, and political life of the Tibetan people. In this short film, Buddhism in Tibet, Cutting photographed practitioners (lamas, monks, artists, men, women, and children) as well as places (chortens, monasteries, temples) associated with Tibetan Buddhism. Prayer wheels, wind-horse flags, and prayer beads are all portrayed, although Cutting primarily focused on people.


These five short films are drawn from many hours of footage that have been preserved digitally through the generosity of John H. McFadden and his wife Lisa D. Kabnick in honor of his sister Mary McFadden, a great-niece of Mr. Cutting who inherited his sense of adventure. The original films were donated in 1988 by Mr. Cutting’s widow, Mary Pyne Filley Cutting, a Trustee of the Newark Museum. They document Cutting’s expedition to Yunnan and Szechuan in 1928, the Cutting-Vernay expedition to Lhasa and Shigatse in 1935, and Cutting’s two other trips to Tibet in 1930 and 1937.

— William A. Peniston, Ph.D., Librarian/Archivist

July 7, 2017 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Docent’s Choice: The Arch of Titus


The Newark Museum was awarded a Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant for the conservation of George Peter Alexander Healy, Frederic Edwin Church and Jervis McEntee’s The Arch of Titus.

As you approach The Arch of Titus, think of a painting by committee.

This treasured piece, completed in 1871, was conceived and produced by three American artists living in Rome. George Peter Alexander Healy, who came to be known as the painter of Presidents (more of his portraits have hung in the White House than any other artist), settled in Rome in 1866 where he later encountered fellow artists Frederick E. Church – a student of Hudson River’s School Thomas Cole – and noted landscape artist Jervis McEntee – himself a one-time student of Frederick Church. All three of them had settled in the city in search of aesthetic enlightenment. Together, following an idea of Healy’s, they joined forces in painting The Arch of Titus. Healy painted the figures, including the American icon Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his daughter Edith; Church painted the Arch; and McEntee painted the Colosseum.

This monumental collaborative painting, a rarity in American art circles of the day, was the result of Longfellow having commissioned Healy to paint a portrait of himself and his daughter Edith when they all happened to be in Rome at the same time. In the right-hand corner, we can see Church seated with pencil and pad sketching the landscape; Healy beaming over Church’s shoulder; and McEntee facing the viewer while gesturing towards Church’s hands. Longfellow and his daughter appear under the Arch.

The Arch of Titus, built between 81 and 96 A.D. to commemorate the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D., served as a scenic reminder of the large colony of American artists and writers, as well as wealthy American tourists, expatriates and art collectors, who flocked to the ancient capital of civilization for inspiration. In the aftermath of the Civil War, as America began to build factories, dig canals and construct railroads, artists as well as collectors saw the country evolving from an agrarian to an industrial economic society. American artists began to highlight landscapes as idyllic settings and American collectors began to prefer nostalgic art representing simpler and more certain times. With the growth of the middle class, as travel became easily accessible, the Arch and the Colosseum as well as other historic sites, became favorite landmarks to photograph, sketch, draw, or paint. They were all often used as backgrounds for portraits, another popular genre in 19th century American art. Consequently, The Arch of Titus is a “curious” historical American memorandum, as it commemorates the presence of American tourists and the body of work that visiting American artists produced in the “Eternal City” in the later decades of the 19th century.

George Peter Alexander Healy, a portrait artist born in Boston, was living in Europe having alternated residence between America and Europe, and in 1866 he moved with his family to Rome where he collaborated with Church and McEntee. It has been written that the sitters in Healy’s paintings evoke a sense of calmness, which can be seen in The Arch of Titus.

Unlike many of the artists of that period, Church did not study abroad. His father arranged for him to study with landscape artist Thomas Cole. However, after the loss of his wife and two children, he started a new life. Travelling to Jordan and Palestine, he ended his journey in Rome, where, day-to-day, he drew upon his memories and sketches to contribute to The Arch of Titus and other paintings.

Jervis McEntee, a student of Church, was born in Rondout, New York and educated in the tradition of the Hudson River School started by Church’s mentor, Thomas Cole. He traveled through Europe in 1869, the same year that Church visited Rome. Known for his diaries, which he kept from the early 1870s until his death in1891, McEntee depicted the day-to-day lives of his fellow artists, as well as the evolution of the 19th century’s art world.

The Arch of Titus speaks of the personal friendships between these three artists, as it celebrates and memorializes the camaraderie of American artists in Italy in the 19th century. As one stands before this treasure and meets the figures of Longfellow, his daughter and the three artists, we can feel like tourists from a bygone era on a walking tour, looking at the Arch and perhaps wondering about the reliefs on the walls, which are not clearly defined in the painting. Age has made many of the reliefs carved on the archway walls difficult to figure out, and hard to recognize what they describe and what stories they tell.

There are two scenes from triumphs that Titus celebrated. One of these, when he sacked the Great Temple at Jerusalem while fighting the Judean war, shows the loot including the golden table and silver trumpets; another shows the seven-branched candlestick (menorah) all taken back and deposited in his father’s (Vespasian) Temple of Peace. It is noted that the Arch was completed after his death and his figure appears riding heaven-ward on the back of an eagle. A Roman of that period would understand the stories behind the reliefs, and for us, it gives a sense of history. One relief shows captives carrying the Judean spoils back to Rome. Nero had sent Titus and others to crush the rebellion. In A.D. 70 Jerusalem fell; the Temple was burned; and the Judean state collapsed.

This painting invites a visitor to stand before it, noting its size, the figures, how they connect, and the choice of subject – and perhaps to opine about the subject.

And so, along with a heartfelt fatherly tableau of 19th century America’s beloved poet strolling with his daughter, we glean a bit of history and a bit of the lives of three master painters who, as chance would have it, came together, with Healy at the helm, to create this composite panoramic scene.

– Eleanor Barbash Berman, Volunteer Docent

Buckskin coat photoBank of America Art Conservation Project

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project, the Museum is restoring a recently rediscovered and rare embroidered deerskin coat attributed to the Cherokee. This beautiful coat expands the scope of the Museum’s Native American clothing collection. After restoration, school groups, scholars and Museum visitors can enjoy seeing it up close. The coat will be ready for display in 2018 in the exhibition Native Artists of North America, the new permanent galleries highlighting Native American Art and part of the Museum’s newly reinterpreted Seeing America galleries.

Also restored through this grant is the 1871 painting The Arch of Titus, which has been part of the Museum’s American art collection since 1926. Recently completed and returned to the Museum’s Seeing America galleries, the large-scale work by George Peter Alexander, Frederic Edwin Church and Jervis McEntee will be on loan this fall to the Detroit Institute of Arts for its exhibition Frederic Church: To Jerusalem and Back.

The Museum began to collect Native American Art in 1910, and the collection includes holdings of Southwestern, Northwestern and Plains material from the 19th and 20th centuries. The embroidered frock coat is one of only about a dozen coats of this kind presently known in museum collections. Date estimates for this coat range from the late 18th to mid-19th century, which is fairly early among Native American artworks and clothing in museum collections. The conservation work consists of cleaning the entire coat, humidification to reduce the deerskin’s brittleness, seam repair, embroidery attachment and repositioning of the belt.

A few closely related coats are attributed to the Shawnee and Delaware and provide insight into indigenous arts of the Southeast and Oklahoma, which are poorly understood yet historically important, given the extreme cultural and material losses caused by the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

“Close study of the Newark Museum’s coat through the opportunity of conservation will yield many details of fabrication, materials and design, and add tremendous insight to the understanding of this group of objects,” said Adriana Greci Green, lead curator of Native Artists of North America.


June 2, 2017 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

New Installation: Style and Status in Sterling


Art nouveau loving cup given to a New Jersey insurance executive to celebrate his forty years of service, Gorham Manufacturing Company, 1905. Silver, 19 x 13 in. Gift of James Hillas, 1967.

Nobody has ever needed objects made of silver. Yet silver objects have been made and used and treasured here since Europeans first set foot in North America.

So why would a museum want to create a gallery devoted to the use and production of silver objects for the American home? The answer is simple. Because silver still matters, even if many Americans have forgotten why.

This is why museums exist, after all: to remind us of things we’ve forgotten or maybe didn’t even know in the first place. Silver is part of our history, and it is part of our artistic heritage as a nation.

In May 2017, in the original Guest Room of the 1885 Ballantine House, the Newark Museum will unveil its first-ever permanent gallery devoted to American silver from the Colonial period to the present day. The approximately one hundred objects, ranging from
tablespoons to massive candelabra, represent the story of silver in America and were chosen from one of the most comprehensive museum collections of American silver in the country.


One of a pair of candelabra made for the Paris World’s Fair in 1900. Tiffany & Co., 1900. Silver, 28 ½ x 22 x 12 ½ in. Purchase 2011 Helen McMahon Brady Cutting Fund.

Two of the key themes are “Because we love you” and “Showing off.” Silver is a mineral (Ag on the periodic table of elements) and has been considered precious since ancient Egypt and Han Dynasty China (206 BC–AD 220). For thousands of years, silver has been associated with money and power. As a result, its intrinsic value has elevated the prestige of any object made from it and any person who owns it.

If you give someone an object made of silver, you are telling them they are loved; they matter; they are precious. That’s why silver objects are given to couples to honor their marriage or mark an anniversary. Silver is also given to celebrate the
birth of a child, or to honor a long career or a job well done.

“Showing off” is a less subtle theme. Because silver had long been associated with cash and therefore represented literal wealth, silver objects are a traditional way to demonstrate personal status. One of the Museum’s founding trustees purchased a massive pair of ornate silver candelabra that Tiffany had displayed in two different world’s fairs.


Coffeepot by Ubaldo Vitali and Leonard DiNardo, 1999. Silver and glass, 13 x 7 ½ x 5 ¼ in. Gift of Movado.

The exhibition’s simplest themes involve stylistic change over time and the use of silver as an artistic medium. A small timeline of coffeepots demonstrates how silver has traditionally been an indicator of current fashion. Nine beautiful coffeepots show how a single form changed stylistically from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the 21st. Every stop on the timeline will include a snippet of American history to remind visitors what was going on when each piece was made. A unique coffeepot made in New York City by Halsted and Myers dates from the mid-1760s, just after the end of the French and Indian War. Myer Myers was the only Jewish silversmith in Colonial America, and Benjamin Halsted had a silver shop in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

At the other end of the spectrum, a postmodern coffeepot, made in 1999, was a collaboration between New Jersey silversmith Ubaldo Vitali, and New Jersey glassmaker Leonard DiNardo. Commissioned by Movado for the Millennium, it recalls a time when people everywhere were worried about the “Y2K bug” that was going to cause computers all over the world to crash.

Because silversmithing can be an expression of artistic talent, there is a section devoted to silver objects that were intended as works of art. Another section of the gallery will be devoted to objects made of electroplated silver. The technology for electrically transferring pure silver onto the surface of a base-metal object (tin, copper or another white metal) was developed in the United States by the 1840s. This allowed people of modest means to have access to silver objects.


Colonial coffeepot made in the shop of Myer Myers and Benjamin Halsted, 1763–65. Silver and wood, 11 x 8 ½ x 5 ½ in. Purchase 2016 Mr. and Mrs. WIlliam V. Griffin Fund.

Every major religion has used silver vessels for its worship practices because of the ancient belief that silver was purifying and noble. There are four objects that specifically relate to Christian and Jewish religious rituals.

There is also a small section, clustered on the Guest Room’s carved mantelpiece, reminding visitors that Newark was a major silversmithing city, and encouraging them to visit Newark, City of Silver and Gold from Tiffany to Cartier.

– Ulysses Grant Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator  of Decorative Arts

Style & Status in Sterling is made possible by:Ruth L. Hutter and Eleonore Kessler Cohen & Max Insel Cohen


May 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes: Audubon and Bachman: Quadrupeds Of North America, 1849-1854


TR49.2016.1A-C-Moose Deer

John James Audubon’s illustrated book, Birds of America, is one of the most famous scientific treatises in the world. Produced in London in the 1820s and 1830s, the original edition was enormous, measuring 39 by 26 inches. Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Henry R. Liss in 2001, the Newark Museum possesses the first Octavo edition (10 by 7 inches), published between 1840 and 1844, a more manageable set of seven volumes. Two of these volumes are on display in the Museum’s “Seeing America” galleries. Known for its high aesthetic qualities and scientific accuracies, Birds of America quickly became the leading source of information on American ornithology.

Following this work, Audubon turned his attention to the mammals of North America, collaborating with a gentleman naturalist, the Rev. John Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina. Bachman wrote the text and supplied the scientific expertise; Audubon and his sons produced the artwork. Together they published a large-format set of three volumes in the late 1840s and early 1850s, which became renowned for the high quality of its color illustrations. A smaller edition under the title, The Quadrupeds of North America, came off the presses in 1849, 1851 and 1853 (volumes 1, 2 and 3, respectively).

TR49.2016.1A-C-American Bison

This Royal Octavo edition of The Quadrupeds of North America was recently given to the Newark Museum’s Library and Archives by Patricia C. Locke in memory of her husband, Richard S. Locke, an eagle scout who grew up in the city but was enamored of the outdoors. These handsomely bound volumes with their gold-embossed covers contain 155 hand-colored, full-page lithographs of exceptional beauty. In their introduction, Audubon and Bachman wrote: “We have endeavored…to place before the public a series of plates, which are not only scientifically correct, but interesting to all, from the varied occupations, expressions, and attitudes, we have given to the different species, together with the appropriate accessories, such as trees, plants, landscapes, etc…with which the animals are relieved.”

— William A. Peniston, Ph.D., Librarian/Archivist




March 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

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