Part of Scientific Revolution Was A
Fascination With Plants, Animals
The scientific revolution which began in the 17th century and burgeoned in the 18th brought a countless number of contributions to the knowledge of the natural world. In this developing “Age of Reason,” natures’s creations became both a fasciation and a pattern of how the universe worked.
Plants and animals alike were carefully preserved and recorded in all their complexity and diversity. They appeared not only in books and prints of the scientifically minded, but also were embodied in the decoration of ceramics, fabrics and other objects of daily life.
It became both fashionable and practical for pioneer naturalists, as well as wealthy amateurs, to form collections of natural history specimens for study and display.
These collections often held positions of importance in the living rooms, displayed in pieces of furniture, or cases, called “cabinets of curiosities.”
In England, plants and animals from “the colonies” were of special interests. However, Americans themselves adopted the fad. For example, Thomas Jefferson had a case of “relics and curiosities” displayed in a cabinet in the entrance hall of his home at Monticello.
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