Friday, May 21, 2021

Science is Measurement

Henry Stacey Marks (1829-1898), Science is Measurement, 1879

Henry Stacey Marks's 1879 painting Science is Measurement was his diploma work for the Royal Academy. 

"The painting depicts "a scientist with measuring instruments before the skeleton of an adjutant stork...He got the idea of painting this scene while taking measurements for his earlier paintings. "In making studies of the birds, I went to the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons to take measurements of the bones, their proportionate length, etc. When I had obtained what information I needed, I came away, and crossing Lincoln's Inn Fields, it struck me that the occupation in which I had been engaged would furnish a good subject for the picture." To paint this picture he asked for advice on obtaining a skeleton of the adjutant stork from Sir William Flower that could be kept at home so that he could study it at leisure. Flower suggested a taxidermy artist and skeleton preparer in Camden Town who supplied him with a suitable specimen. Marks ensured that he counted the vertebrae and measured them carefully to make sure it was accurate. The title was decided after much discussion with artists and scientists and he submitted it as his diploma picture for the Royal Academy of Arts. Abraham Dee Bartlett, superintendent at the London zoo, encouraged him to draw birds with accuracy rather than colour them with anthropomorphism."


1 comment:

Meera Rao said...

Fascinating! Thanks !